Walter Mathew "Red" Cary

b. 1909-2005
Aviator and Artist

Red Cary in the pilot's seat


Walter Mathew "Red" Cary  died, Sept. 17 in Laguna Niguel, CA. He was 95.

Walter “Red” Cary was born in 1909, in Neligh, Nebraska. Red was just ten years old when he realized his life’s passion. He was pedaling his bike when he looked up into a blue Nebraska sky and saw an airplane hauling passenger’s overhead. Red confirmed, “That was the moment I became ambitious to fly.” He was left an orphan at age 13 and quit school at age 16. He hitchhiked to Detroit to work in a factory and learn to fly. He earned enough money to pay his way through a flying course. His first solo flight was in 1926, in a Curtiss JN4C "Canuck." 
Red built his own “Jenny” airplane out of the remains and parts of other airplanes. At the age of twenty Walter “Red” Cary began earning a living at what he loved doing most in life, flying. Red flew a Ford Tri-motor for the next thirteen years. He was getting paid for barnstorming. He was hauling passengers for short rides and enjoying his profession.

In 1930, Red was in Niagara Falls, NY. He wandered into a drugstore one day and behind the soda fountain he met his sweetheart, a petite, blue-eyed brunette, Anne “Lu” Cary (when no one was looking she would drop an extra scoop of ice cream into his malted milk). It was love at first sight.

Red and Lu were married in 1933 in the Cicero Bible Church in Chicago, Illinois. Red was twenty three and Lu was twenty-two. Red and Lou took the show on the road and it was called, “The Dixie Flying Circus.” Red would barnstorm in over five hundred different cites and Lu would often wing walk on the wing of the airplane.  They were married 64 years.
His biggest barnstorming day was in Rochester, Minn., July 9, 1939. He carried 2,654 passengers from 9 a.m. until 1:45 the next morning. A total of 92 “hops.” He always thought, "This must be a record." His pilot logs reflect that he played 533 cities and towns in his 13 years of barnstorming. Red said of his piloting career, “It had its ups and downs.” Red always loved to tell jokes.
Red began his piloting career with American Airlines in 1939, based in New York. He made Captain in 1942. His daughter Judith convinced him to take an assignment in Los Angeles (When the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to LA).

In June 1958, he received a bid for Captain in Los Angeles, CA. He, his wife Lu and his daughter, Judith moved to Laguna Beach, CA. His last ten years with American Airlines were spent flying Boeing 707s out of LAX.

He is survived by his daughter, Judith Kerr, of Fort Bragg, CA, granddaughters, Carrie Dattalo, of Aliso Viejo, CA and Grace Kerr, of Arcata, CA, grandsons Merritt Kerr, of Ukiah, CA and Walter Kerr, of Santa Rosa, CA. He is also survived by his brother, Ernest Cary, of Los Angeles, CA. 

He will be laid to rest, Friday, Sept. 23 at Pacific View Memorial Park, Newport Beach, CA. 



© Copyright 1999-2004 All rights reserved by Walter M. Cary