William L. Easton, 92

William Easton

William Easton

TOPSFIELD, MASS. — William Locke Easton, 92, a longtime resident of Topsfield, passed away Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.

Born in Mason City, Iowa, on Sept. 30, 1923, he went by his middle name Locke. He graduated from Mason City High School in 1941 before enlisting in the Army Air Force in November of 1942 at the age of 18.

He was soon training in the force’s Aviation Cadets Program, where he received recognition in his class of about 400 as the “Outstanding Pilot” upon graduation. In March 1944, he was assigned to pilot B-29s with the famous 509th Composite Group which ended World War II by dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After returning from the war, he married Marjorie Elizabeth Horton of Mason City, Iowa, in 1947. They were happily married for 53 years before her death in December of 2000.

After graduating from University of Nebraska and earning his master of Engineering degree from the University of Cincinnati, Locke went to work for General Electric as an aerospace engineer in Evendale, Ohio, and in Lynn, Mass. He retired in 1981.

Shortly after retiring, he was recruited by the Federal Aviation Administration as an aerospace engineer in the Engine and Propeller Standards Division. He worked at the Burlington, Mass. branch until he retired for the last time in 2001.

From the early 1970s until 2000, he owned and operated Maple Ridge Airport in Harrison. His red, white and blue Cessna 150 was a familiar sight in the skies over Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and most of northern New England. He was known for his knowledge of airplanes and his love of flying.

For his wartime heroics later in life, Locke was a frequent speaker at historical events recognizing the memory of World War II. In 1995, Locke’s photograph was displayed in an Enola Gay exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum marking the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Locke is survived by his sister, Shirley Cahalan of Mason City, Iowa; his daughter, Beverly Easton of Harrison; his son, Steven L. Easton of Conway, Ark.; four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Funeral services were held at the Peterson-O’Donnell Funeral Home, 167 Maple Street (Route 62), Danvers, Mass. on Saturday, Nov. 21. Burial was in Pine Grove Cemetery, Topsfield.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in his memory to Angel Flight NE, 492 Sutton St., North Andover, MA 01845.

To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit www.odonnellfuneralservice.com

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