MOORHEAD, Minn. — When a B-25 came to the Fargo Air Museum in 2015, it was Roy Nolte who arrived to tell the stories of the fabled flyer. Nolte should know — he was a pilot on the bomber during World War II.
"Flying an airplane, is kind of like riding a bicycle," Nolte said that day. "(It's) something you don't forget how to do."
Nolte died on Monday, Oct. 4, at the age of 98. He not only left behind family and friends who loved him; his death closed a few chapters in Minnesota's history as well.
For example, he was the last of the B-25 World War II pilots in the tri-state area. He was also the last of this group of 36 Nolte cousins from Minnesota who served in the war.
"The family was big," son Gary Nolte said of his father. "There were 12 siblings that had kids, the draft board must have come in there and said, 'come on guys,' but it was also work."
Roy's brothers Earl Nolte was seriously injured a couple of time in the war. There was also his brother Erwin, and cousins Paul and Lloyd. The list of cousins goes on. Three-dozen men from the same family serving our country in World War II.
Uncle Earl Nolte was carried off the beach in the Philippines after he took out a pill box with a 45.
At the time, papers in the upper Midwest made it front page news. Roy Nolte was the last one left.
Think of the stories these guys had to tell. Family reunions must have been legendary. Our thanks to them all. The Nolte boys, the dozens of mothers who worried day and night for their return, and those who remember still what they did for us all.
Gary Nolte says a message out of all of this for the younger generation:
"There is something bigger than you, if you don't do it, they are not going to be here," Gary Nolte said.
Roy Nolte's funeral is Friday, Oct. 15, at Wright Funeral Home in Moorhead.