|It's hard to believe that by the time the upcoming holiday weekend is over our Mentor, colleague and friend Dan will have been gone west for over a month. I have struggled with what to do to properly remember Dan, without much success. However, I cannot let the one month anniversary of his death pass by without formal acknowledgement.
What follows is a portion of a short article that I wrote (not yet published on my website) in memory of Dan. My thanks to Jack McNamara for his fact-checking and editorial assistance.
Pilots have a saying that aviators don't "die; they "fly west. It's an expression that goes back to the Allied pilots of World War I.
On June 3, 2021, there was a sort of formation flight west of two aviators. One you may not have heard of: Webster B. "Dan Todd, Jr. The other you certainly know from the headlines: F. Lee Bailey.
It was my privilege, although a daunting one, to succeed Dan Todd as Chairman of the New Jersey Aviation Association. I first heard of Dan Todd in the late 1950's or early 1960's. My father was taking flying lessons at the Somerset Hills Airport, which Dan owned and operated at the time. Dad often came home talking about the impressive young "Danny Todd. As roughly a 10 year old, I couldn't understand what the big deal was about this Todd guy. It took another 55 years, when I finally met the man in the flesh, to understand what the big deal was. He was a very big deal indeed. Dan was a pilot par excellence, the recipient of the FAA's Master Pilot award, a sort of lifetime achievement award for flyers. At various times he owned two New Jersey airports, started an air taxi service, flew the jump plane for an all-woman skydiving team, served as a search and rescue pilot in the mountain West, and incidentally, was President and COO of Frontier Airlines. He saved failing ranches in Montana. Along the way he made professional stops in the New Jersey Legislature, the White House as a special assistant to the President, and served as the first Chairman of the newly independent National Transportation Safety Board. He was also the President of the volunteer fire department in his home town of Oldwick, New Jersey, and a fishing guide in Montana. In short, he was a fascinating and absolutely genuine combination of big city sophistication and small town dedication to family, friends, and public service. Kipling's admonition --- "nor walk with kings nor lose the common touch --- was embodied in my friend Dan. It was a special privilege to have known and worked with him
.Franklyn C. Steinberg, III, Esq.
Steinberg Law, LLC
98 Grove Street
Somerville, NJ 08876