Cover photo for Erwin A. Darby's Obituary
Erwin A. Darby Profile Photo
1921 Erwin 2011

Erwin A. Darby

June 25, 1921 — June 26, 2011

Erwin A. Darby, age 90, of Grants Pass, died Sunday, June 26, 2011 at Three Rivers Community Hospital.

A viewing will be from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., Friday, July 1, 2011 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Stake Center Relief Society Room.

A funeral service will begin at 11:00 a.m., Friday, July 1, 2011 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Stake Center with Bishop Scott Nelson officiating. Interment will be at 9:00 a.m., Saturday, July 2, 2011 at Eagle Point National Cemetery. Hull & Hull Funeral Directors are in charge of arrangements.

Erwin was born June 25, 1921 in Eltopia, Washington to Arthur & Ruth Darby. After graduating from flying school in Yakima, Washington he was hired as a civilian in King City, California to teach basic Army Air Force students to fly. He was transferred to different airfields to teach the advanced students until they received their instrument and pilot maneuvers for combat. He later served in the United States Army Air Corps and was honorably discharged in 1946 with a rank of Captain. At the end of the war, he was sent to carry 500 pound bombs over the Hump between India and China for the Flying Tiger’s to bomb the Japan Air Force that were bombing Chinese forces. In 1942 he married Jean Purdy and together they had four children. In the 1950s Erwin went to helicopter school. He flew helicopters and later taught serviceman to fly helicopters during the Vietnam War. While living in Malaysia, he taught the Malaysian military to fly helicopters. He later lived in Singapore for 15 years where he flew helicopters for oil rigs. For a few years the King & Queen of Thailand contracted with his private company to chauffeur them by helicopter. In 1978 he moved to Southern Oregon where he purchased five acres in Murphy and built his log home from logs that he logged himself. At the age of 88 he retired. Just three weeks ago at the Merlin Airport, he made a perfect three point landing with an airplane which he built not from a kit, but from scratch, everything except the plastic pieces.

Erwin was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He worked in the Portland Temple one week each month when it opened until the Medford Temple opened and he transferred there.

His favorite hobby was building his own airplane, a Thorp S-28, and flying it.

Survivors include his wife, Jean Darby; three sons, David Darby, Stephen Darby and wife Eileen, and Gary Darby; grandchildren, Xanna and husband Andy Pittman; Kevin; Sean and wife Kari; Jessica and husband Jeramiah Forest; Jason and wife, Suza; and great-grandchildren, Tianna, Raina, Korin, Kayci, Allison, Boston, Capri, Cayman, and Lexus.

Preceding him in death was a daughter, Pamela Darby.

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