It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of Mid-Continent owner, president, and dear mentor and friend Richard “Dick” Reade.
Born on May 13, 1922, Dick Reade traveled west from his childhood home of Scarsdale, New York to attend college at Iowa State University, where he would earn a degree in animal science. With every intention to go further west to work his own ranch, his country beckoned for his service at the outset of World War II. Navigating through the clouds of war over the Pacific as a pilot in the United States Air Force, Dick served our nation bravely in the cockpit of a Lockheed P38 Lightning as part of the 28th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron.
With victory in hand, Dick returned stateside after the war and developed his interest in aviation into a new career. In 1949, with three Stearmans and a dream, Dick founded Mid-Continent Aircraft Corporation, and as a result, helped lay the foundation of our industry as we know it.
The first President of the National Agricultural Aviation Association, a businessman, an innovator, always with one eye looking forward and another pointed to the skies, Dick lived a life deserving of adulation that was time and again blunted by the silent pride of The Greatest Generation. Duty, fairness, generosity, selflessness, and much more can be attributed to him, but perhaps his shining strength was his humility.
Though slight in stature, Dick Reade was a giant to us; our true north, the bond that brought us together. He was not just a gentleman but a gentle man; a man from whose vigor and grace we all benefited.
For us, things will never be the same, but we will, as Dick once said, “keep our feet on the ground and our eyes on the horizon” as we carry on, armed with the guidance and wisdom he willed to us. It is for these things and more that we are ever-grateful.
Dick Reade will be missed by all who knew him and respected him. In lieu of flowers, donations to the National Agricultural Aviation Association Museum and the Caruthersville Humane Society are encouraged.