Rich Sugden from delivering babies to flyin’ warbirds
I have a friend of over a half century that shares my abiding love of aviation. I’ve known him since he had dark hair and I had hair.
His life is more complicated than mine. My life has been just about airplanes. His, is as a successful surgeon along with restoring and flying a plethora of magnificent ol’ warbirds. Rich and Sue are involved in numerous other areas leaving a good many folks indebted to them for their giving ways.
Rich Sugden, MD will be inducted into the Wyoming Aviation Hall of Fame September 19th, 2017. It was my honor to have nominated him.
My ties to the Wyoming Aviation Hall of Fame go back to 1995 when I was the keynote speaker for the first induction held in the Little America ballroom in Cheyenne. It was also, the seventy fifth anniversary of the Cheyenne Airport. That was a pretty heady time for the Walker Bunch. My Dad, W. Dillard “Pic” Walker, was the first one selected by Red Kelso (founder) for the newly organized Wyoming Aviation Hall of Fame. Pop, along with his best friend, Ralph Johnson, joined earlybird, Slim Lewis and USAF Gen. Sam Phillips as the first inductees. Ralph was the sole surviving member of that first selection. Since that time Wyoming has inducted a single Wyoming aviation stalwart each year since. Rich will soon join a very select group.
I was introduced by Governor Stan Hathaway. The Newcomen Society published my remarks. Such a great honor for me, my mother, and sisters. This, of course, was tempered by my father’s absence. Pic had Gone West in March of 1993. However, prior to his lining up on Runway Two Seven, he did know that he’d been selected.
Cheryl and I look forward to being there when Rich is inducted next month. It promises to be memorable.
There are so many Rich & Sue Sugden stories floating around I thought you would enjoy a new one. Just this morning, I happened to see a photo of Rich’s pristine Douglas TA-4J “Skyhawk” taken at the 2017 Oshkosh gathering. I noticed a very different helmet and wrongly assumed someone else was flying Rich’s “new” bird. Below is how Rich corrected my mis-perception (keep in mind some school rivalry):
“So I have a very good friend who took his T-28 down to Edwards TPS at the same time we were taking ours, and the Albatross… He is also a rabid Michigan fan …. I left my helmet in the TPS locker room and asked John if he’d pick it up next trip to avoid having to ship it … and then forgot about it … It arrived a few weeks later at my office and I didn’t bother opening the box … until my nurse said “you might want to take a look…”, as I hadn’t called John back when it arrived … Lo and behold .. a perfect University of Michigan football helmet!!
Harrison Ford presenting Rich with the
“Harrison Ford Aviation Legacy Award”Here’s the presentation: