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ARSA Remembers – Stewart Mercer (1938-2018)

Stewart Mercer. Photo courtesy the Mercer Family.

Stewart Mercer, passionate aviation professional, community leader and world traveler, passed away on Aug. 12. He was 80.

“The industry lost another of its ardent supporters, ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod said. “For those that did not know Stewart, his is an example of a life well-lived for the many of us who loved, admired and respected him. We who were lucky enough to have met him will remember him and his family with affection. Our love and prayers remain with his family and many friends who will miss him dearly.”

Stewarts family shared an announcement of his death on Aug. 17. The following edited version of that announcement is provided to help old friends remember and the rest of the maintenance community learn about his great life (service and remembrance information included):

Born July 20, 1938 in Flushing, New York to Quintin Ulysses Mercer & Dorothy Westervelt Mercer. Raised by his mother and sister, Kathleen; they lived in a great many places while growing up. He attended different schools in NY: Elementary school, Sunday school, High school, Reform school, and the “School of Hard Knocks.” (and he would be the first to say the knocks were often self-inflicted!) He left home at the early age of 14, and eventually enlisted in the USAF at 17, with his mother’s reluctant consent.

On July 10, 1982, he married Noelle Carlson whom he met in Denver, CO; They married in the Catholic Chapel at San Geronimo, on the Taos Indian Reservation, in New Mexico.

He lived in many places including New York City, where he was born, and New Orleans after he left home at 14. Later he lived in Tripoli, Libya and spent a short-term residence in Valetta (St. Paul’s Bay) Malta. Stewart also resided in Portuguese Bend, Rolling Hills, and Palos Verdes, California. His time in Denver, Colorado marked his fortuitous meeting of Noelle in December 1981. Together, they also lived in Miami Springs, Florida and Dallas, Texas. His travels took him to more than 100 different countries around the world and numerous cities within those countries. He encountered various war zones in Beirut, Lebanon, Managua, Nicaragua, Larnaca and Nicosia, Cyprus, and Amman, Jordan.

He chose to be in the commercial aviation industry during his long career. He founded AV-EX, Aviation Excellence and headed the global aircraft parts distribution firm, debt free, for his entire tenure as CEO & President, until its sale in 2009. He was proud of the business until the end, particularly of its continuing to thrive and support many of the same employees who worked under his ownership.

Stewart provided good counsel for his aviation colleagues until the end of his life, focusing his consultation on operational excellence, airline parts distribution and sales growth. His personal and business life were always based on the principle that “The harder he worked, the luckier he got.”

Persistence was his mantra, and they served each other well.

Notes about Stewart’s life, family and interests:

General Aviation Flying – He flew more than 36 different aircraft types into more than 100 different airports.

Airports – Those 100+ airports witnessed his non-spectacular, non-eventful landings hundreds of times, including 9 of the top 10 busiest airports in the nation; dozens of times.
Skydiving – His first official log book entry was in 1966 at Lake Elsinore, California
Paragliding, Parasailing, and Hang Gliding

Stewart supported several philanthropic organizations including the SPCA, The Dallas Symphony, and The Dallas Summer Musicals (where he was a member of the Board of Directors), The Frontiers of Flight Museum, where he also served as a Member of their Board. He also mentored entrepreneurs personally and through his participation in “The Board Room.”

He and Noelle created a Scholarship Fund at The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences for students of veterinary medicine. The Scholarship Fund was named in honor of their long-time veterinarian, Dr. Terry Ford, and the staff at North Dallas Veterinary Hospital.

Survivors include his wife Noelle, her children Dori & Derrik and their children Richie, Kenny, and Krystall, his sister Kathleen Smyth and her husband Dennis Smyth, sisters Judith Gingras; Linda Thorsen, Diane Mercer Toomey, and nieces & nephews; Kathleen, Kerry, Doreen, Denise, Laure, & Tim; Jeffrey & Matt.

Stewart was preceded in death by his mother & father, Dorothy & Quintin.

Among the thousands of people that Stewart met over the years, he was most proud of having met and been in the company of several Four-Star Generals, including John R. Dailey, Stanley Allen McChrystal, Raymond T. Odierno, H. Norman Schwarzkopf, David Petraeus, Tommy Franks; and Admiral John Walsh.

Dallas was where Stewart chose to spend most of his life, but in his heart and mind, New York was always “home”.He particularly enjoyed his times there with Noelle and introducing daughter, Dori, son Derrick and the 3 grandchildren to the wonderments of New York City! 

Services:

Thursday, August 23 at 12:00 p.m.
Sparkman Hillcrest
7405 West Northwest Highway
Dallas, TX 75225.

Stewart will be cremated with a portion of his remains being scattered off the coasts of Palos Verdes, California and Catalina Island, a most favored place for him.

Remembrances:

Memorial contributions are welcome at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and/or Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine. (Mercer Scholarship Fund)

ARSA Still Remembers...

James 'Jim' Ballough, Jr.

May 4, 2016

James J. “Jim” Ballough, Jr. passed away at his home on May 3 after a seven year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 66.

A Vietnam veteran, Jim earned his B.S. in Professional Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and graduated from the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics’ AMT program. He started his civil aviation career as an A&P mechanic with Eastern Airlines before becoming an FAA safety inspector. He quickly rose through the agency, serving as principle maintenance inspector of US Airways and manager of the Eastern Region’s Technical Branch before his promotion to director of the Flight Standards Service in Washington, D.C.

After 27 years of public service, Jim transitioned to the private sector as vice president of Cavok, a division of Oliver Wyman in Keller, Texas.

“[Jim] was one of the finest public servants I’ve known,” said Marshall S. Filler, ARSA’s managing director and general counsel. “He did what he thought was right even when it wasn’t popular or politically expedient. Nor did he avoid tough decisions; though he worked to build consensus he managed to get things done without it. He will be sorely missed.”

Jim was a vital supporter of ARSA’s during his tenure with the FAA as well as in his private career. The association’s team sends deepest condolences to his family and many friends in the aviation maintenance community.

Jim is survived by his wife of 45 years Michele; his children Lauren and James III; and siblings Margaret, Susan and Michael. He was preceded in death by his parents, Betty and James Sr.

To see Jim’s full obituary, click here. To leave condolences and share memories with Jim’s family, visit www.snyderfuneralservices.com.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances can be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Mary Alice Rice (1932–2016)

February 2, 2016

Mary Alice Rice, who was instrumental in the operation of the Northrop Rice Foundation, passed away on Jan. 26 at her home near Houston, Texas.

Alice’s long commitment to the aviation community began with a job at Braniff Airways in Kansas City, where she met her husband James in 1956. The two moved to California and eventually Houston, where they helped put a man on the moon before founding Rice Aviation (later renamed Northrop Rice USA, Inc.) in 1972. She led the company as chief executive officer for 44 years.

In addition to NRF, where she helped support the careers of thousands of aspiring aviation professionals, Alice was actively involved in the Aviation Technician Education Council and the Association for Women in Aviation. She leaves behind her husband, six children, nine grandchildren and a legacy of dedicated commitment to the future of flight.

The association has long support NRF by providing for the annual ARSA Scholarship, which helps a selected AMT student with money for books, tuition and fees. The scholarship honors Alice’s commitment to the men and women who keep the world safely in flight by investing in their future.

To learn more about the ARSA Scholarship, and to see how you can get involved in NRF’s mission, visit: http://northropricefoundation.org/index.php/scholarships/amt-student-awards-and-scholarships.

To view Alice’s full obituary and to learn about funeral arrangements, visit: http://www.crowderfuneralhome.com/obituaries/mary-alice-rice/.

Dr. Thomas Accardi (1953-2015)

August 18, 2015

Dr. Thomas C. Accardi – the life-long aviator and public servant – passed away on Aug. 14.

Dr. Accardi earned his pilot’s license at 17 and flew as a commercial pilot before joining the FAA. During his agency career, he served as director of Flight Standards in Washington, D.C. and director of Aviation System Standards in Edmond, Oklahoma. He retired in 2011 after 33 years of federal service.

“Tom served the public during some very difficult times when the FAA was often caught in the middle of highly-publicized labor disputes,” remembered Marshal S. Filler, ARSA’s managing director and general counsel. “While he was fair-minded in his approach to those issues he never wavered from his responsibility and was a relentless advocate for aviation safety.”

Dr. Accardi is survived by a large family including his wife, Deborah, and their two daughters and granddaughter. He also leaves behind the legacy of his long commitment to the safety of aircraft crews and passengers around the world.

To read the full obituary and express condolences, please click here.

Jay Pardee

June 16, 2015

Jay Pardee, the FAA executive who was instrumental in multiple initiatives that greatly improved aviation safety, passed away suddenly on June 12.  He was 68.

Pardee devoted his 44 years of FAA public service to improving the safety and reliability of aircraft engines and using data to reduce risk in commercial aviation through the work of the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST), which he helped create.

“Jay Pardee’s leadership and innovation is in large part responsible for today’s outstanding U.S. commercial aviation safety record” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

Pardee pioneered the establishment of ETOPS (Extended Range Twin-Engine Operations), which is one of the major contributors to the drop in the U.S. commercial fatal accident rate.

With CAST’s creation in 1997, Pardee helped forge a remarkable government and industry partnership that became the model for the world.  By 2008, CAST achieved an 83 percent fatality risk reduction in commercial aviation through the voluntary adoption of safety enhancements.  In that year, CAST was presented the Collier Trophy in recognition of its achievements.

He also helped transform the focus of aviation safety management from a forensics approach to a more prognostic approach through the establishment of the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) program.

“Jay was always supportive of mutually beneficial meetings,” said Sarah MacLeod, ARSA’s executive director. “He never dismissed the industry’s concerns or solutions merely because they weren’t aligned with the agency or his own view of a situation. With his ability to listen and understand multiple positions, the solutions he endorsed were always feasible.”

Fred Emery (1933-2015)

May 7, 2015

On Wednesday, April 29, Frederick Joseph Emery passed away at his home in Washington, D.C.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., Fred moved to the nation’s capital in 1963 to serve the FAA and Department of Transportation as a regulatory lawyer and eventually as Director of the Office of the Federal Register. While in public service, he remained connected with future legal minds as a professor of administrative law at Antioch Law School.

In 1980, Fred started The Regulatory Group, Inc. to advise government agencies on the rulemaking process. The firm provides both training and consultant services in regulation writing, policy development, training, indexing, management of regulatory systems and report writing. Fred’s son Andrew (one of his three children, along with nine grandchildren and countless friends) continues that work today as the Regulatory Group’s president.

Through his long career as public leader, mentor and coach, Fred has been an indelible part of the Washington, D.C. community. For ARSA and its members, his passing marks the loss of a great friend to the aviation community and cause to celebrate his long service on behalf of the American people.

A celebration of Fred’s life will be held on June 14, 2015, at 2:00 pm at the Thomas Room, University of Maryland golf course clubhouse, MD 193 and Stadium Drive, College Park, Md. Memorial contributions may be made to SOME or a charity of your choice.

Edmond Boullay (1943-2014)

April 22, 2014

On Monday April 14, Edmond Boullay passed away.

Edmond was a lifelong advocate of the aviation industry and friend of pilots, passengers, and aviators everywhere. He lived a life of humble service and leaves behind a legacy of international cooperation between aviation communities.

Born in Montrichard, France, in 1943, Edmond worked for 13 years with the French MOD Flight Test Center as an Experimental Test Engineer and Pilot before being appointed Aeronautical Engineer at the Office of Armament Attaché at the Embassy of France in Washington D.C. In 1986, he joined the French Ministry of Transportation/Civil Aviation Directorate (DGAC) and created the position of Civil Aviation Attaché and DGAC representative to the FAA. That position he pioneered would later become part of the European Joint Aviation Authority (JAA) in 1994 and ultimately, in 2003, part of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Retiring in 2008, Edmond joined U.S.-CREST as a senior research associate and project director. He held a commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine and IFR ratings.  He also earned the French Médaille de l’Aéronautique, which is awarded to both military personnel and civilians for outstanding accomplishments related to the field of aeronautics.

“We were deeply saddened to learn of Edmond’s passing,” said Marshall S. Filler, ARSA managing director and general counsel, “Through his lifetime of dedication to international aviation collaboration he helped to ensure that millions of fliers can travel the world and arrive safely every day. The international civil aviation community has lost a great friend and ally.”

Due to the overwhelming affection shown to Edmond’s family in his passing, they have planned a memorial service open to all at 10:00 am on Saturday, April 26th at Robert A. Pumphrey Funeral Home, 7557 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814. In lieu of flowers, contributions should be sent to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital (http://www.stjude.org) or the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

U.S. CREST is also working with Edmond’s dear friend Julian Hall to put together a book of remembrance from his fellow professionals to present to Edmond’s wife Roberte and his sons Emmanuel and Alexandre. You may send messages for inclusion to marc.esteve@uscrest.org or to U.S. CREST, 1400 Key Blvd, Suite 420 – Arlington, Virginia 22209.

Jim Oberstar (1934 - 2014)

May 6, 2014

ARSA was sad to learn of the passing of former House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) on May 3.

Oberstar, a lifelong transportation advocate, represented Minnesota’s 8th congressional district for 18 terms from 1975-2011. Dubbed ‘Mr. Transportation’ by his colleagues, he began his career as an aide to his hometown congressman, John Blatnik (D-Minn.), then-chairman of the House Public Works Committee (now known as the House Transportation & Infrastructure [T&I] Committee). Oberstar himself served as T&I chairman from 2007-2011, solidifying his reputation as an ardent supporter of infrastructure investment and a transportation policy expert. Even after leaving Congress, Oberstar remained engaged in transportation policy, speaking frequently about key issues.

“The transportation community has lost a great advocate and leader,” said Daniel B. Fisher, ARSA’s vice president of legislative affairs. “While we didn’t always agree, Chairman Oberstar was always respectful, passionate, and open to hearing other points of view. Nobody knew transportation better than him.”



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