Those of the aviation community in this Ohio Valley, along with many others, family and friends, are deeply saddened and mourn the recent untimely passing of Edwin, “Dinney” Walford of Bridgeport. A lifelong pilot of exceptional professional ability and experience, Dinney touched and enriched the lives of countless people over his many years of flying and through teaching at both Martins Ferry schools and in his church there.
Dinney was a teen-age flight student at Alderman Airport, those many years ago, always excited and eager to wiggle into the small rear seat of a Piper J-3 Cub and take off, with an instructor, for another flying lesson. He quickly joined the CAP (Civil Air Patrol), which was based at the airport, joining the group of experienced pilots who volunteered their flight time to be available for search and rescue, if and when needed.
Dinney’s father, Jack Walford, was a pilot and plane owner with his plane based at the airport and as such, this greatly helped Denny’s flying experiences expand and become the diving interest in his life. Dinney went on to earn his private and commercial licenses and multiple ratings and over time, he set up his own flight academy at Wheeling-Ohio County Airport. As a flight instructor, he taught many students to fly and go on to earn their license and additional ratings. Quite frequently, we would see a Cessna 150 making an approach and landing at our airport, then take off on roll-out and we knew it was Dinney with a student, teaching landing techniques at a smaller airport with a shorter runway where a pilot doesn’t have the luxury of an extended runway where errors in judgement are easily corrected with “more landing room.”
We often get phone inquiries from callers about plane rides, flying lessons or short charter trips, which we no longer offer, and we automatically gave them Dinney’s business phone number along with an assurance that such referral was to a “well-qualified pilot with a lot of experience, quite capable of filling their requests.”
Dinney was openly friendly – always – smiling and happy and, as I frequently say, “he looked like a pilot!” Those in the Valley who had even limited contact with flying, were quite familiar with who Dinney Walford was and his well-respected reputation for being a “good pilot.”
His passing leaves many memories and truly creates an emptiness and deep loss.
” … And while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod, the high untrespassed sanctity of space, put out my hand and touched the face of God.”
“Surely sunlight and starlight shall favor me on the flight I take and I will abide in the presence of my God forever.”
Au revoir, Dinney.