Still Stunned With Grief, Employees Say Goodbye To Gary
(One of the toughest
aspects of this job is trying to cover a tragedy. That's what the
loss of Tanis Aircraft Services President Gary Schmidt was last
month. Schmidt and a friend were flying home from Florida to
Minnesota when their aircraft went down not far from their
destination. Both men were lost. When we first talked with the
folks at Tanis, they were overcome with emotion -- Gary was being
laid to rest and only volunteers manned the phones at the shop.
Those volunteers promised they would let us know when they were
able to talk. We received this on Tuesday. --
Tanis Aircraft in Glenwood, MN is saddened to report the death
of its owner and President, Gary E. Schmidt in an aircraft accident
near the Glenwood Airport on December 9, 2004.
Gary purchased Tanis Aircraft Services in January 2002, from the
family of Peter Tanis, the company's founder.
Having had a long career in marketing with West Publishing in
St. Paul, MN, he used his skills to initiate a plan to promote
Tanis products worldwide.
Starting with Alaska the company participated in Aviation Shows
and seminars throughout the US and Canada, the highlight being the
EAA air show in Oshkosh, WI. He had just begun an advertising
campaign to include Europe and Scandinavia.
Enthusiastic by nature, Gary encouraged company employees to
"think outside the box!" This resulted in the development of new
products including cabin preheaters, both floor mat and ceramic
versions, expansion of helicopter preheater models, engine
preheater options to accommodate the popular engine analyzers,
remote on/off systems for Tanis Products.
It also resulted in new
aircraft canopy covers, products for emergency medical systems and
others still in the development stages.He promoted programs to
encourage fixed base operators to use and promote Tanis products
with special membership benefits and technicians kits.
Aviation safety was always foremost in Gary's mind. He was a
strong advocate for aircraft engine preheating for safer and
convenient cold weather starts. In his opinion it was a sure way to
prolong engine life,reduce maintenance and improve safety. In fact,
he presented seminars and workshops on the topic as well as
publishing several articles on the subject. Also, whenever he
traveled he took the opportunity to visit customers and aviation
related businesses always asking questions to learn about solving
problems involved with cold weather flying. Often this resulted in
mutual alliances to promote aviation safety in cold
As a tribute to Gary, the company will continue to offer Tanis
Cold Weather products as it has in the past from the airport near
Glenwood, MN. It will also expand an "out of the box" product line
Gary initiated three years ago by Gary.
(Gary Schmidt has gone west, taking with him the love and
admiration of the people who worked for him at Tanis Aircraft.
Happy trails, Gary. It's obvious you will be -- you are -- dearly
missed. -- ed.)