February 12, 2011: 48 Years Later

Every year on this date, I think of my dad, John C. Heil Jr.

I think of him at other times throughout the year, but particularly, on this day. I light a candle in his memory. I visit his gravesite. Maybe not on this exact day, but as close to it as I can, given the distance to his resting place from where I live.

My dad, known as “Jack” to his family and friends, passed away at age thirty-nine on this date in the company of forty-two others. They all shared something in common on that “Lincoln’s Birthday” of 1963: the same plane, Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 705. That flight, en route from Miami, Florida, to Chicago, Illinois, crashed thirteen minutes after takeoff killing everyone on board:  thirty-eight passengers and five crew members.

I hope this space brings a chance to share, insight, healing, information. In memory of my dad, Jack Heil, and others who flew with him that day, “Welcome to all.”

For more… please see the “About” section.

This entry was posted in Jack Heil, Northwest Orient Flight 705 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to February 12, 2011: 48 Years Later

  1. sarah says:

    A simple and beautiful way to honor the lives, stories, and families of those who were lost on 705. It brings good tears to my eyes. All my love, Mama-san.

  2. T.L. Heil says:

    Thanks for helping make this a reality Sar. You’ve also lived with this story… all your life in fact. I very much appreciate your idea, and assistance, to opening this place for people to share and learn about this. Love you very much, m.

  3. Sandy Beach says:

    I posted earlier today about my uncle George A. Enloe, who went down in this plane crash. Double checked my facts, and realized that he was a Navy pilot deployed out of San Francisco when Pearl Harbor was bombed.

    Thank you.

    • T.L. Heil says:

      Comment from Sandy Beach on 3-25-2011:

      Thank you for sharing this site, and for the bittersweet memories of your dad. My Uncle George was on that plane as well. I didn’t know him well, as he and his wife had moved to Washington. He was my grandfather’s younger brother, George A Enloe. He was a decorated Air Force pilot deployed, rather suddenly, out of San Diego to Pearl Harbor. It is ironic that he flew all those dangerous missions in war time, only to go down in a commercial flight some twenty years later. There is a park dedicated to him in Anoka Minnesota.

      • T.L. Heil says:

        Sandy, thank you so much for both of your comments. You are the first person related to someone on Flight 705 to find this site and I’m really happy this has finally happened. And… when I saw the name of who you were related to, I was somewhat stunned. Because in all the years I’ve thought about connecting with others affected by this accident, the Enloe family was the only one I thought I could possibly ever find. George Enloe was the only other passenger from Seattle and I remember very clearly going to his widow’s home in the year or so after the accident. My mom took all of us kids to the Enloe home, possibly a few times, and I remember that they had a few children. When I decided to start this blog, I actually looked in the Seattle phone book to see if there were any Enloe listings [there are], but I didn’t know which one to call. My mom said that she and George’s widow, Arvilla, were part of the same class action suit following the accident. As you said, it is ironic that George survived WWII and met his fate on Flight 705. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

        Website for George A. Enloe Park, Anoka, MN

    • Ron Abraham says:

      Sandy my name is Ron Abraham. My Grandfather’s brother Henry Abraham was married to George’s sister Genivieve Enloe Abraham, Lake Crystal Minnesota. She passed away in 1997.

      • T.L. Heil says:

        Hi Ron, did you eve hear anything about the accident that George was on when you were growing up?
        Thanks for writing, Theresa

      • Ron Abraham says:

        Theresa thanks for responding. No, this is something I just recently became aware of talking with my dad. My dad Gene Abraham and George’s nephew Richard Abraham are first cousins and are both retired Minnesota State Troopers. If I had known I would have bugged the heck out of my cousin Richard and his mom and dad. I grew up going to competitive peace officer pistol target matches that they both competed in. This just never came up. This whole thing about George Fastinates me. I have been tracking both the plane crash and George’s remarkable WWII record. I went to West Point and have learned a considerable interest in the military heros of this conntry and now to find out that one is a relative is very neat to me!
        I think it is very good that people remember their lost loved ones. It is amazing how people having common thread can connect in this manner. Thank You!

    • Trish says:

      Sandy Beach,
      I just posted something about George Enloe on the site’s page, “February 12, 2011: 48 Years Later”. I can send you a copy of the article about George, if you email me at
      trishravits at gmail dot com

      I find all the entries and blog replies on Flight 705 so very poignant.

  4. Sandy Beach says:

    Your most recent blog was a big surprise to me as well. You met my (great) aunt and cousins! I had never looked for any information on the plane crash. I had searched for things on uncle George’s WWII history, without much luck. I am just not very savvy yet on gathering info. At some point I have plans to check out one of the LDS genealogy centers here in the area.
    Just got off the phone with my mom. She remembers a couple things. George and Arvilla had 4 children. Richard is the youngest, and may still live in the Seattle area, the rest are girls, hence would have different last names. I have not been in touch with any of them, I’m not even sure I ever met them except when I was too young to remember. Arvilla passed a number of years ago, while living in California. The Enloe family was originally from Iowa, then southern Minnesota. I have always lived within a 40 mile radius of Minneapolis.
    The one thing my mom recalls that I find a bit chilling: George was supposed to take an earlier flight, but he gave up his seat to someone else and took that later fateful 705 flight.
    She also has it that he was stationed in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was bombed, not sent over after. Well, I wasn’t there, so I suppose she’s right. Thanks again.

  5. Sandy Beach says:

    Finding you and your story by wild chance has had a dramatic effect on my life these last few months. My family history research went into overdrive. I have found ancestors on the Enloe side all the way back to the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and a few other things that I have very mixed feelings about. Families huh? I have found my dad’s great grandparents. I am still looking for my GGgrandmother, but I feel that I am close.
    I have been thinking about how you might be able to get some hits on your blog. Nothing useful has occurred yet, but I believe it will. When the brainstorm hits, I will keep you posted.

    • Ron Abraham says:

      It looks like my great aunt Genivieve is your father’s sister. I will have to talk with my dad’s cousins. Maybe you already know them Richard Abraham, Milton Abraham, and Gerald Abraham are Genivieve’s sons.

      • Sandy Beach says:

        Ron, I remember Uncle Hank and Aunt Gen very well. They took us on a late night tour of The Swedish Museum, one time. He had the most amazing eyebrows I had ever seen! LOL. Richard Milton and Gerald grew up with my Mom (Lois Enloe Beac)., She is Susie and Harland’s daughter. Harland was Gen’s oldest brother.

        Theresa, Sorry for commandeering your blog with genealogy:)

  6. Ron Abraham says:

    I have done some research on George and ran across teh flight 705 references and families that track it. I am going to Minnesota end of next week to my parents near St Cloud. My phone is 615 955-7718 ronnae1129@comcast.net if you want to talk. You surely are related, as I always knew them as Hank & Gen as well. I went to Gen’s funeral wiht my folks my dad is Eugene Abraham and my Grandfather was Reuben Abraham. Hank and he sure did have bushy eye brows.

    Theresa-Sandy I have seen some other documents and links on families of the flight. George was a pilot and employee of Northwest Airlines. He was a highly decorated WWII soldier in the Pacific theatre particularly Battle of Santa Cruz at Guadalcanal Oct 1942. His record and Pearl Harbor were referenced by the Congressingal Record V. 144, pt 13, July 31, 1998 to September 8, 1998 in recognition of the 53rd aniv of VJ dayV by Congressman Lindsay Graham.

    I found the following thru Ancestory.com

  7. T.L. Heil says:

    Dear Sandy… NO WORRIES! A wonderful side product of the blog and I think George would be smiling. It’s a nice tribute to his memory that his relations can connect over his story and more. Very neat! Hope you’re well, Theresa

  8. T.L. Heil says:

    Ron, thanks for your nice comment about remembering one’s loved ones. It’s my hope that others who lost family on 705 that day will find this blogsite and it’ll bring them some comfort. Glad you and Sandy are connecting! If anyone has a photo of George they would like to share, please feel free to send.

  9. Bobbi Marie says:

    My grandfather was First Officer Robert Feller. I emailed my mother about this blog and she will pass along the information to my father, Jeff Feller. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has a sister Kathy Summers that also lives in Minnesota. This is a very nice way to reconnect with other people that went through this so many years ago. I grew up and didn’t know a whole lot about my grandfather, but I did read many articles and books related to the crash and became quite fascinated with aviation through this tragedy. I went to school to be a pilot and have my private pilot licenses and currently work as a air traffic controller in Dallas/Fort Worth. I someday want to work for the National Transportation Board conducting aircraft accident investigations. Hopefully with time more and more people will find this blog connect with you all.
    God bless.

  10. T.L. Heil says:

    Dear Bobbi,

    I can’t tell you how much it meant to find this tonite when I got home from work. Truly. I have often wondered how this impacted the families of those NW Orient employees who were aboard Flight 705. To read that you turned this sad event for your family around, and became a professional who works for airline safety, touched me in ways I can’t even convey. Sincere thanks for finding this blog. And writing.

    All the best to you! Theresa

  11. Kathy Mom Summers says:

    Bobbi, thank you so very much for doing the research that you have done on Dad’s flight, he would be so proud of who you are and what you have become. I am First Officer Robert Feller’s daughter, I was 12 and my brother 13 at the time of the crash and to say that our lives were affected by flight 705’s crash is an understatement. I still remember seeing the newspaper the morning after the crash and reading about all the people that died that day, We lost a very important person in our lives as did everyone else who had a family member or friend on that flight. My Mom was the first widow to get lifetime passes on Northwest Airlines, thankfully she put those passes to good use. Remembering my Dad is something I do often, each milestone in my life makes me wish he were with us. Hearing from others that had family members on that flight is very comforting, I just wish for all of us that the outcome could have been different. I still think of Northwest Orient Airlines as the best and fly that original airlines whenever I can and I don’t usually call it Delta. Thank you Theresa for remembering and starting this blog and to Bobbi for finding it.
    Kathy Summers

    • T.L. Heil says:

      Dear Kathy, first of all, my condolences to you and your family on the loss of your dad. Even though it has been almost fifty years since the accident, the loss of loved ones that day is something that we all carry, even still. It indeed shaped lives and I was so inspired by Bobbi’s choice to enter aviation and airline safety. I am glad that she found this blog and thankful to you both for sharing your stories. If you have a photo of your dad that you would like to share, I would be honored to post it here.

      It is my hope that a memorial to those on Flight 705, and the story of how that accident improved airline safety, can somehow become a reality by 2013. I’m working to that end and welcome the thoughts of others. Sincere thanks to you for taking the time to write, and my best to you and your family. All the best, Theresa

  12. Patrick McDonald says:

    No words can express how happy I am for you on the success you are having with this blog. With all of the lives that you have touched, you are truly an angel!!!

  13. Trish says:

    I was led to your webpage via my Google search on “George Enloe” and “Anoka, MN” . I am looking for information on any WW II veterans who served with my dad in the US Navy’s Fleet Air Wing 7. The airmen and crews were stationed in Dunkeswell, England, from where they flew over the Bay of Biscay on u-boat searches/bombing runs. Here’s how I landed here: I have a newspaper article from about 1943, that mentions Lt. George Enloe, of Anoka, MN. He *must* be your relative, and I would be happy to send you a copy of the article. I am very sorry to hear that George lost his life on NW 705, after all the missions he flew with my dad’s airwing during the war.
    you can email me at trishravits at symbol gmail dot com for the story- this is true serendipity in my search, and I’d like to share with it with you.

  14. Greg Abraham says:

    Ron & Sandy,
    You probably know all this already, but here goes;
    George was a Navy pilot flying PBYs out of Pearl when it was attacked. He flew search and rescue missions and night combat missions. He hit a Japanese cruiser in a night mission at the very beginning of the battle of Santa Cruz. He also ferried B-17s into Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. Later he flew the Navy version of the B24 Liberator out of England, and sunk the German sub U-271 west of Ireland on Jan 28, 1944 (combat photo page 69 Atlantic Air War: Sub Hunters vs. U-Boats, by John W. Lambert). Dad Richard and Milton have copies of bits and pieces of Georges diary while in the Pacific. I’ve also seen a photo of George with his crew in the family archives somewhere. I know dad had talked to one of the members of his crew. As a kid I remember seeing George’s medals at the SA institute. We were in attendance at the George Enloe park dedication in Anoka.

  15. Karla Southworth says:

    T.L. Heil, Arvilla Enloe is my Aunt (passed away in 2008), and I can potentially connect you with my cousins, the Enloe siblings, if you have not already connected. (I would want to contact them and direct them to this site, provided they are mutually interested in making a connection.) I would also be interested in a copy of the article that “Trish” refers to in a post above …

    • T.L. Heil says:

      Hi Karla,

      Thank you for writing. I have not connected with George Enloe’s family. I would appreciate you letting them know about the blog. I met them not long after the accident as Arvilla. But it was just the one time I think. I was only six or seven at the time. Did you know your uncle at all? He sounds like he led a most interesting life.

      All the best,


      • Karla Southworth says:

        Theresa, I did let one of my Enloe cousins know about the site, back in February. Hoping perhaps he reached out to you, while I’m not seeing any posts on this blog. I did not know my uncle, as this accident occurred before I was born.

  16. Karen Canpbell says:

    I just found this site. My great aunt Rose Srodulski was killed in this flight. She was traveling with her husband and another couple. The woman took one flight and the men took an earlier flight. I was eight years old. I remember the news bulletin coming on television. This of course was before we knew. My mother was hysterical. It was her aunt. We’re all of the bodies recovered. I don’t recall going to a “funeral” but I was only 8 and it might just be foggy. Thank you for this site.

    • Kimberley Hume Davis says:

      Karen, I am your Aunt Rose’s granddaughter, Kim. Who was your mother, also my great aunt? I have so little information about her side of the family. I remember her sister, Elsie and her brother, John.

  17. T.L. Heil says:

    Dear Karen,

    First off, my condolences on the loss of your great aunt. You are the first direct descendent of anyone on Flight 705 to find the website in a while and I’m sure it was a bit of a shock, even almost 50 years later.

    The story of your great-aunt, and the decision of her husband and that of another couple to fly separately, resounds. Both of my parents almost boarded Flight 705: my mom’s decision at the last minute to visit her brother whom she hadn’t seen in years saved my five siblings and I from being orphaned. Your great-aunt’s story, and that of the two couples who flew separately, was covered in the media articles following the loss of Flight 705. If you would like to read about accounts of your go back to the blog and click on the tab “Flight 705: Newspaper Coverage and Documents”, and then click on the top link, “Press Coverage_Accident.” Please be forewarned that the media coverage is somewhat graphic and painful to read.

    Page 20 of that file will detail the Srodulski story. Joe Scrodulski, husband of Rose, was the friend of Anton Smigiel, whose wife, Sally, also died on Flight 705. [See bottom left hand corner of page 3 of Press Coverage file, as well as page Page 22, 24.]

    All of those who died that day were recovered according to my investigation of the crash records and interviews with those who knew the chief investigator: the deceased were sent back to their respective communities for burial. You may not have attended the funeral: I was 6 at the time and remembered desperately wanting to go with my siblings but my mom thought it was too much and so I did not. Check with your family to ascertain where the burial plot might be. Or find her actual obituary: it would detail where she was interred. [See http://articles.skokielibrary.info/browseobits.php?Year=1963 and search under her last name: it shows the newspaper where her obit was published. ]

    Again, my sympathy to you and your family.


  18. Rex Friesen says:

    Interesting site.

  19. mht2stars says:

    Sister Theresa & Niece Sarah
    Thank you again for creating this site and writing so eloquently to mark the occasion of our dad’s and grandfather’s passing. You’ve grounded his memories even more deeply for me and my siblings and my children. Love you!

  20. Ray Carlson says:

    To all associated with the accident of #705: Each day, weather permitting, I go to a park here in town, with my pooch and have been doing that for 17 years..During that time, I noticed a tribute to a man by the name of George Enloe, who the park was named after..so, I came home today to do more research into this gentleman and his demise in the plane crash. I was amazed to see so many others, mostly relatives of those who died and just wanted everyone connected to know that with people paying tribute to their loved one’s, those who perished will never be forgotten and I guess that’s what prompted me to write this note…I did not know anyone who died that day, but I felt a small connection to the tragedy by virtue of seeing the monument to George Enloe with his brief achievements mentioned and forever etched in granite…after 17 years, I finally found the story behind a name. So, my sincere appreciation to all associated with this story for letting me “butt in” and give my take on the flight of 705…Sincere Regards To All…..Ray Carlson, Anoka,MN

    • T.L. Heil says:

      Dear Ray,

      How thoughtful of you to take the time to write into the 705 blog. Hopefully, one day, we’ll have a monument down in Everglades National Park to commemorate everyone on the flight that day. In the meantime here’s to remembering people and events and taking the time, like you did, to dig a little deeper and understand more of the world around us. The Internet certainly created a means for that, and connection, that was unthinkable in 1963. Enjoy your walks! Theresa

      • Ray Carlson says:

        Not to dwell on the past, but looking back its sometimes preferable to the present…thanks for the appreciation….my world just expanded! RC

  21. T.L. Heil says:

    Sitting in downtown Port Angeles, a stone’s throw from the Coast Guard station where my dad was stationed during WWII . . . How amazing this place must’ve seemed to him after growing up in South Dakota.

    How amazing that someone in Minnesota found this blog, this story, by noticing a memorial plaque in a park in Anoka. Life is good

    • SandyBe says:

      Ray, I have visited that park. George Enloe was my uncle. He has an amazing story. The Anoka County Historical Society has a lot of information about him and his amazing life story. I found Theresa’s blog by happenstance whe I was doing some family research. It is great to know that it is still providing an opportunity for connections. Thanks for posting. Sandy Beach, St. Louis Park.

      • Ray Carlson says:

        I do have a nice photo of the tribute to Mr. Enloe, outlining his early years here in Anoka, MN…I don’t possess the skills necessary to post it in this blog and I’m basically an out-sider being on here, except I happened on it 17 years ago and found this great blog and some wonderful folk’s who are doing a great job of keeping many .memories alive.. Its almost as if I’ve found another “family”…..Regards to all…….Ray C…Anoka, MN

      • T.L. Heil says:

        Thank you Ray!

        You aren’t an outsider. You’re connected to this story. You are most welcome.

      • Trish R. says:

        I feel I have a connection here, not through family, but because Sandy’s uncle, George Enloe, was stationed with my father in Dunkeswell, England, during WWII. They served in the US Navy’s Fleet Air Wing 7, and were the only American naval aviators in the European theater of war. The aircrews patrolled the Bay of Biscay for U-boats in their Liberator bombers (the Navy called them PB-4yI’s) I came across this site researching, as I constantly am, my own father’s wartime Naval aviation service, and I found an article on George Enloe while searching for “Fleet Air Wing 7”. I think that article was in the NY Times. Curious about George, as I am about any shipmate who served with my father, I searched further and it led me to this NW Flight 705 site. I often wonder if they knew each other on the airbase set in the beautiful Blackdown Hills of Devonshire, England. Dunkeswell and the satellite base at Uppottery nearby are where the 101st Airborne aka Band of Brothers left for the shores of Normandy for the D-Day invasion. I try to imagine my dad and George, and all the others, who must have looked to the skies in amazement that day, as the hundreds of planes painted with white stripes headed east in formation.
        Sandy, I have a book on the aircrews of Fleet Air Wing 7, and can look in the index to see if George is featured/pictured. Also, I have a lot of the veterans’ newsletters and can look through them, as well, for you.
        I realize I posted here a couple years ago, and have been settling in after a big interstate move, but I now can focus on family history searching again. If you would like me to dig up that article on George, I can copy it and send it to you.
        Kind regards, Trish

      • ray carlson says:


  22. Trish R. says:

    (sorry, I didn’t read the older posts here. I didn’t realize I’d posted this same information in 2011)

  23. Tom Myrick, Jr. says:

    My father in law, Mr. Dallas Jones flew with George Enloe and is pictured next to him in a photo taken in England in late 1943 time frame. I cannot link that photo on here as I do not know how….however, I can attach to an email to anyone interested. Email me at myricktom@yahoo.com….. Dallas was asked by the Enloe family to be a keynote speaker at the ceremony dedicating the park to Mr. Enloe; a day that Dallas remembers quite well. Dallas is now 91 and his health is “hangin in there”…..but he still loves to talk about his WWII adventures with Mr. Enloe…a man who he admired dearly. For a great, true WWII story….Google Seach the phrase “Torpedo Run” to read about a night that Dallas and Mr. Enloe shared…

  24. Andrea says:

    Captain Roy Amquist was my great-uncle. I never knew him, but I have heard about the plane crash my whole life. Thank you for sharing your stories.

  25. T.L. Heil says:

    Happy holidays to all. Best wishes for a peaceful New Year.

  26. Troy Forsberg says:

    George Enloe was a relative of mine, his wife Arvilla was my grandmother’s sister. I was blessed to be able to be at the park dedication in his name as was Arvilla. Its beautiful.

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