John Wade Blute died at Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley on March 2, 2015, surrounded by his family, after a long illness.
He was born in Peabody, Massachusetts, the son of Gertrude (Wade) and John J. Blute, on January 3, 1922. He grew up in Danvers, MA, and graduated from Holten High School, Class of 1939, where he was a tri-captain in football, played basketball and ran track. He was also a class President and was a convener of many reunions. He then attended St. John's Prep for a post-graduate year and entered Boston College in 1941. With his increasing interest in aviation and the foreshadowing of imminent war, he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps. He received his pilot's wings and commission in 1943, trained for the B-26 bomb group and met Virginia L. Glancy while home on leave.
He left for England in January 1944 and survived 69 missions flying from Matching Green Airfield (north of London) over Europe, including D-Day. He captained the B-26, "Ginnie Gee," which he named after his future wife. He received the Army Air Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters and other honors then returned to the US as a flight instructor in August 1944. He was discharged in 1945 and hired by American Airlines as a co-pilot.
He married Virginia Glancy in July 1946, but was called back into the service for the Berlin Airlift, flying 212 missions from Fassberg, Germany. He was then assigned to Westover AFB in Chicopee, MA, where he flew the North Atlantic and the Arctic. He flew again for American Airlines until the Korean War, when he went back on active duty. John moved his young family to Los Angeles, where he then flew from Alaska into Asia and the Arctic. He returned to his beloved childhood home of Danvers, MA, where he lived until 2007, when he moved into assisted living in Concord, MA.
John successfully flew for American Airlines for 34 years, ending in January 1982, as a senior captain flying 747's from New York to California, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. He always said that American, his fellow pilots, and his family knew how much he loved to fly. He was a member of many organizations, including the Lindall Hill Boys Club, the 391st Bomb Group Association, the Berlin Airlift Veterans Association, the Northeast Vanguards, the Allied Pilots Association, The Grey Eagles and the Flying Circus. He was a member of the Holy Name Society of St. Mary’s and the Knights of Columbus. Virginia and John were volunteers for My Brother's Table and other organizations and enjoyed their families and their summer home on Lake Winnipesaukee, NH.
Wade was a man for whom family came first. He was universally known as a "Good Guy" with a great sense of humor. He loved to whistle and became a teacher of the art for future generations. He said that his philosophy on death was, “You’re on your last flight west into the eternal sunset.”
He is survived by his daughter, Kathleen Virginia Blute, and son-in-law, David Robinson, of New York, New York; his son, John W. Blute, Jr, M.D. and Nancy Slattery of Acton, MA; his four grandchildren, Matthew Blute and his wife, Nicole Blute, of Los Angeles, CA, Meghan Blute-Nelson and her husband, Benjamin Nelson, M.D., of Boxborough, MA, Sarah Blute Kaschak and her husband, Michael Kaschak, of Maynard, MA, and Melanie Blute Robinson of Vigo, Spain; his great-grandchildren, Patrick and Eleanor Blute, and Madeline and Eila Nelson. His beloved wife, Virginia Louise (Glancy) Blute, predeceased him in 2006, just shy of their 60th wedding anniversary.
Donations, if interested, may be made to:
Catholic Charities North
117 North Common Street
Lynn, MA 01902
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