William H. Pontinen passed away in North Las Vegas on July 18. He was born in Virginia in 1924. He Graduated with the Virginia Class of 1941. He was drafted in 1943, where he volunteered for the Army Air Corp. He was assigned to pilot the P38 Lightening during World War II over Germany. He loved that plane and was proud of the work they did.
After the war, William attended University of Minnesota for a degree in Industrial Arts, graduating in 1951. He was recalled into the Korean War in January 1953, during which time he was a flight instructor in Texas. He was a flight discharged in May 1956, and kept flying for the reserves until 1959. He was an industrial art teacher for 25 years in Chisholm, retiring and moving to Whittier Calif.
After moving to California, he worked as a welder and fabricator for 14 more years before retiring to “smell the roses.” He loved the open road and RVing with his gal, Margaret and little dog, Charley, coming home to his cabin on Sand Lake every summer. He enjoyed panning for gold and visiting air museums across the country. He was a big fan of the Bong Museum in Superior.
William was known in Virginia Minn. for flying the P 38 after the war over Virginia and frightening the whole town.
William is survived by children: Denise (DJ ) Johnson and Jack (Sheena) Pontinen; stepchildren: Steve Lundstrom ( Micky), Rian Maki ( David), Paul Wirtanen (Tia), Tracy Mortenson (Dwight); five grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren; and many step grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Ruth Ann; longtime girlfriend, Margaret Castle; and stepchildren, Susan Skalko and Jon Lundstrom.
Burial: Will be at the Minnesota Veterans Cemetery in Saginaw near Duluth.