A low-wing airplane sped up business for Tillotson Construction Company


Commentary by Tim Tillotson

Note: What follows is from a phone interview on May 14. Here, Uncle Tim recalls flying with Tillotson Construction Company’s pilot Ted Morris.

I remember taking a few trips in that Navion with him. It was one of the last planes Dad bought, the only one with a low wing. That Navion was fast, too, a faster plane. I remember being with him somewhere–where the hell were we?–trying to find a spot to land and picked a spot that looked absolutely wonderful from up there. We didn’t realize till we were almost on the ground that the spot had three-foot-tall grass. We went plowing through that grass and also an electric fence that was in the middle. We had to plow our way out.  

Dad [Reginald “Mike” Tillotson] could never get a license because he had double hernia and all that. Ted was our pilot and we also had Marvin Melia, he flew dad, too. Marvin was giving me flyin’ instructions. We’d go out there to the airport, North Omaha. Marvin’s the one that flew Dad around. They didn’t fly every day, or every week necessarily. He’d been flying Dad two years before. 

Ted came back from KS one time in that Navion, and he said something about, “Let’s go home fast.”

So he’s flying like 200 feet off the ground, really a lot of fun. He radioed in to get clearance for landing, and the communication that came back said, “Where the hell are you? We cant pick you up on the radar!”

Ted said, “I guess we better get up off the deck so they can see it.” 

4 comments on “A low-wing airplane sped up business for Tillotson Construction Company

  1. Virginia R Slusher says:

    i remember the name Melia,could his wife have worked in the office previous to me ,the woman I couldn’t remember in the picture? Still haven’t found the pics,will get my cabinets clean!V

  2. Virginia R Slusher says:

    Who is the artist?Clever.

    • Hahaha! The artist (yours truly) is much less clever than you think. You could be right about the identity of the woman in the photo. Her name was Mary Melia. We once visited their home in Omaha’s Minne Lusa neighborhood. I still remember their car, a Plymouth station wagon.

    • Melia, Mary Clare (Burns) Aug 31, 1922 – Dec 29, 2014 Preceded in death by husband, Marvin G. Melia. Survived by children, Marvin G. Melia II of Pleasant Valley, MO, Mary Lou (Timothy) Brennan, Steven M. (Janet) Melia of Cheyenne, WY and Donald L. Melia; brother, Jack (Carol) Burns of Twenty Nine Palms, CA; 10 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. VISITATION Thursday, January 1, 2015 from 4-7pm with a Rosary at 7pm at Roeder Mortuary 108th Street Chapel. FUNERAL SERVICE Friday, January 2, 2015 at 10am at St. Philip Neri Church 8200 N. 30th Street. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. ROEDER MORTUARY – 108th St. Chapel 2727 North 108th St. 402-496-9000

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