Jerry L. Stellner

StellnerBorn: February 9, 1938 in Aberdeen, SD; attended Central HS in Aberdeen; attended the U. of Minnesota 1956-1959.

Joined the MN Air National Guard in Minneapolis, MN in Dec. 1959 as an enlisted man, then OCS, then pilot training. Returned to MN ANG and checked out on the C-97, than transitioned to the C-130A in 1970 and then to the C-130E. Logged 4400 hours military flying. Retired in December 1989 (30 years) as Deputy Commander for Operations for the 133 TAW (MN ANG) at the rank of Colonel.

All as a part-time Guardsman.

Civilian employment: Hired by Northwest Airlines in September 1964 as a co-pilot on DC-6/DC-7, then moved on to the Boeing 727 and the Boeing 707(B720/320). Checked out as Captain on the Lockheed Electra L188 in 1968, than the Boeing 727 in 1969, the DC-10 in 1982, the Boeing 747 in 1983. Retired in February 1998 (age 60) as Captain on the Boeing 747 flying to Japan and points south of Japan. Logged 19,100 hours flying for Northwest Airlines.

I live with my wife, Barbara, who I have been married to for nine years, on 80 wooded acres six miles west of Shell Lake, WI. The nearest neighbor is a mile away. We have several large vegetable and flower gardens and the toys to make the work easier. I am currently building another garage/storage shed to store all the working toys. We spend much of the time from May thru October since 1988 sailing on Lake Superior out of Bayfield, WI. We have sailed the north shore from Duluth to Rossport Ontario Canada (including Isle Royale) and the south shore from Duluth to the UP of MI and beyond to Grand Marais, MI. We live in the middle … two-hour drive to the sailboat and two hours to the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN).

I have two children. Nicole lives in Seattle, WA, is a business analyst with Weyerhaeuser and Richard lives in Portland, OR, is station manager for Northwest Airlines. Barbara has a son, Jeremy, who is attending tech school in the Twin Cities. No grandchildren. My first wife, Gail, of 22 years, passed away in 1985 of cancer.

OCS was a great experience. It was the start of many changes in my life. Without OCS and pilot training, I probably would not have ended up with a flying career, that I loved. OCS was a very rigorous six months that I probably would have a tough time with today, living a relaxed, but busy, retired life.


Jerry Lee Stellner was born February 9, 1938, and died September 24, 2011. Jerry was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, attended Central High School in Aberdeen and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Jerry joined the Minnesota Air National Guard in 1959 as an enlisted man. He received his commission through USAF Officer Candidate School, followed by pilot training in Texas. Many hours of military flying, primarily on the C-130 ended with retirement in 1989 as Deputy Commander for Operations for the 133rd Airlift Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard at the rank of Colonel as a part-time Guardsman.

In civilian life, he was hired by Northwest Airlines as a pilot in 1964; flying the DC-6, DC-7, Boeing 727, Boeing 707, DC-10 and retiring in 1998 as Captain on the Boeing 747 flying to Asia and Europe. Retirement was filled with summers spent on his boat on Lake Superior exploring the Apostle Islands and other areas.

Jerry was preceded in death by his wife, Gail (Fossum) Stellner. Survived by son, Richard Stellner; daughter, Nicole Stellner; son-in-law, Peter Eberhardy; wife Barbara Stellner; sisters Darlene Bulian and Joyce Pifer; brother Lloyd Stellner; and many nieces, nephews, and wonderful friends.

The funeral service will be Saturday 2 pm at Lakewood Cemetery Chapel, 3600 Hennepin Ave. with visitation 30 minutes prior to service.