West Virginia aviator honored at memorial service

June 26, 2022 GMT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia aviator who trained more than 40,000 pilots has been honored at a memorial service, officials said.

The Kanawha County Commission said the flag at the courthouse in Charleston was lowered to half-staff Saturday in honor of Benny Mallory, who was described by officials as a local aviation pioneer.

West Virginia International Yeager Airport said Mallory died Monday at age 91.

Officials said he owned Mallory Airport in South Charleston. Mallory trained more than 40,000 pilots and charted over 35,000 flight hours, officials said. Mallory Airport held a memorial gathering for him on Saturday, WCHS-TV reported.

In a news release, the airport said Mallory’s love for aviation began in the 1950s “and never slowed down.” Mallory flew commercially for many politicians, including former President John F. Kennedy during a visit to West Virginia, the airport said.

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Flags also were lowered at the airport in honor of Mallory.

“We are forever grateful for the impact he made on aviation,” the airport said in a statement.

Commissioners issued a resolution in honor of Mallory’s life. Commission President Kent Carper presented it to Mallory’s family at the memorial service, .