William R. Hoey
July 26, 1975
Many youthful time I rested
Upon a mountain
And Watched an eagle
That I were he.
-A poem by Bill Hoey
Bill Hoey: Pilot, Poet, Quite A Guy
"Whether or not Tigers like to be called people, people seem to like being called Tigers. This airline has always attracted unusual personalities - men and women with more than the normal amount of imagination, energy, ingenuity - and guts."
In this often-quoted remark about the growth of Flying Tiger, President and founder Bob Prescott could have been talking specifically about Captain William Hoey, who flew for Flying Tigers from 1950 until his retirement for medical reasons in 1970.
Tigers were saddened to learn of Captain Hoey's death July 26. He was 61. "We'll miss Bill," said Captain Oakley Smith, senior director of flight operations who also joined the airline in 1950. "He was the kind of man everyone liked."
"In stature, Bill was a rugged man," said 27-year Tiger Janet Olson, supervisor of cost accounting. "But underneath, he was extremely sensitive ...a man of many hidden talents. He never talked about it very much, but he was always writing poetry and short stories, and sketching pictures. And he was good at all of it. I remember that when he'd mail in his flight papers sometimes there would be a sketch on the envelope of a cowboy on horseback, or some other scene."
A native Californian, Bill was born in Mountain View and brought up in Santa Maria. In 1955 he married Mar Maguire, formerly chief flight attendant for Flying Tigers, and for the past 18 years they made their home in Wuana, Washington, near Tacoma.
Bill's infatuation with flying began with light aircraft and followed him into World War II, during which he flew with the U.S. Army Air Corps out of India. He joined Flying Tigers in 1950 and 1956 served as project manager-West Canada for the airline's famous Dewline operation. A thoroughly devoted Tiger, "he'd fly anywhere, anytime," Janet Olson recalled.
"Flying Tigers was Bill's life," his wife Mar said, "and when he retired he truly missed it, and the people. Please tell them how he regarded them all, and missed them."
Flying Tigers will miss Bill Hoey, too.