Bill Harrison, EAA Lifetime 16556 and Warbirds 261, went west on Monday, June 24, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Bill was a longtime member of EAA and Warbirds of America who had an indelible impact on the warbirds community over decades of involvement with the organization. Bill generously donated EAA’s B-17, Aluminum Overcast, to the organization in 1983.
Born and raised in Waco, Texas, Bill went to medical school in Houston before joining the Army and serving as a captain with the 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War. After the war, Bill settled in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and practiced surgery at hospitals and, eventually, at his own practice.
Bill learned to fly at age 16, and over his many years spent as a treasured part of the aviation community, he brought warbirds ranging from bombers, to helicopters, to jets to Oshkosh. In decades spent contributing to the aviation community, Bill served in a multitude of roles for EAA and Warbirds of America, including as a director of both organizations and as president of Warbirds of America.
In addition to his work with EAA and Warbirds of America, Bill served on the board of directors of the National Biplane Association and the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, and as president of the Unlimited division of the National Championship Air Races in Reno and on the Air Race Ethics Committee. Bill is enshrined in the EAA Warbirds Hall of Fame and was named the Oklahoma Aviator of the Year in 1995.
“Bill Harrison was an icon in the warbird community,” Warbirds of America Executive Director Bill Fischer said. “He led EAA Warbirds of America as a board member, president, and most recently as board member emeritus. He cared deeply about the aircraft, but more importantly, the people of the organization were always a top priority for him. He served as a mentor to many and will be sorely missed.”