Long time bush pilot, Joseph “Joe” Jefferson Vanderpool died Friday, August 23rd, 2019 peacefully, with his family by his side.
He was born September 17th, 1928 to William and Sophie Vanderpool at the Vanderpool homestead in McGrath. Joe resided there until he was 5 years old. He went to live at the Jessie Lee Home in Seward, where he attended school until he was 13 years old. Joe then moved to Anchorage, where he took up odd jobs to help him pay for his dream of becoming a pilot. He took lessons at Merrill Field and then completed his first solo flight on April 22nd, 1945 at the young age of 16.
Joe was an airline pilot for Wein Airlines, Northern Consolidated Airlines, Bush Air, Faulkner & Walsh, and many other companies throughout his days as a pilot. He flew all over the state of Alaska and built lasting friendships along the way. A pilot most of his life, flying was Joe’s passion and something he loved to do. Like many pilots from rural Alaska, he was a legend in his own right.
Joe is survived by his sister Avis Dunkin and brother Roy Vanderpool; daughters Kathy Vanderpool Laird, Michelle “Mike” Vanderpool, Janice Vanderpool, Sharon “Joy” Vanderpool, and Emma “Isha” Twitchell and his last surviving son, Joseph Vanderpool, Jr. He also leaves behind 29 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his father & mother; his brother Woodrow, Lewis “Buster”, Robert, Sr.; sisters, Rose, Nora, Alice, and Sophie and sons Woodrow “Woody”, William, and Nicklaus “Jake”.
Joe was a caring, generous, loving person who will be deeply missed. Although our hearts are grieving, we know he is back in his favorite plane flying high once again!