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David Lionel Hanst

September 26, 1918 ~ June 20, 2017 (age 98)

 Captain David Lionel Hanst, beloved father, grandfather ("Poppy Dave")and decorated WWII bomber pilot, made his final flight into the wild blue yonder on June 20, 2017@15:58. He was 98 years old.


He passed peacefully while sitting in his favorite recliner gazing at Christiana Bay surrounded by son, Dave Hanst, daughter, Andrea Roberson ,grandchildren Kirstie & Spencer Mauro, Hunter Dougherty (there in spirit) and extended family including his loyal caregiver of four years, Juana Acuna (Tess.) For a brief moment he gazed upwards toward Heaven and must have seen an angel coming down, arm outstretched ready to take him home. The angel was Marion, his wife of 65 years, the love of his life, who had preceded him in death 4 years prior. On July 4 they celebrated their wedding anniversary, dancing to "Fly Me to the MOON." Marion and Dave Hanst, young and in love all over again.


David L.Hanst was born September 26, 1918 in Pittsburgh, Pa. and was one of 5 children. He is survived by his youngest brother, Jim Hanst, .who currently resides in Pa. with wife, Nancy.


His career path began at the very young age of 24 when he enlisted in the Army Air Corp as a 2nd Lieutenant B17 Bomber pilot. Captain Hanst proudly served our country from 1942-1945 with 35 successful missions, never once losing man or machine. His infamous B17,"Hikin' for Home," with a tasteful depiction of a shapely pinup girl showing some leg, thumb out in need of a lift. On his final mission he encountered a close brush with a red hot piece of flak that came shooting through cockpit window, narrowly escaping the "fly boy." He kept it as a memento of dogfights, bombs and victory from WWII. He kept that chunk of metal which almost proved fatal as a reminder of fleeting mortality

.For his dedicated service and valor he received two "Distinguished Flying Cross" medals and an Air Medal with 3 oak clusters.


After the war, David became a commercial airline pilot with Capitol Airlines, which later became United Airlines, flying left seat of the luxurious DC-3. The number of passengers required one stewardess. As fate would have it, one day his "stew" was late and he chewed her out badly as she boarded the plane. Needless to say, it was a rocky start but he was smitten with her from the get go and spent months trying to find her. The stew? Not so much. Her name was Marion. They eloped July 4,1955 at Christ's Church in Alexandria, Va .They have two children, David and Andrea, who followed in their footsteps, both with lengthy careers at American Airlines.


Per his request, David Hanst would like to express his sincere gratitude and respect for the following organizations:

The Mighty 8th Memorial Association,

91st Bomber M.A,

The Ragged Irregulars M.A,

Distinguished Flying Cross Society Association,

American Legion, Newport Beach Post,

Airline Pilots Association (retired)

Retired United Airlines Pilots Association

Capital Air Lines Memorial Association.

High Flight

 "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”


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