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Aug. 4, 1911-Dec. 17, 2010

Maj. Gen. J. Stanley Holtoner (USAF-Ret.) passed away Friday at age 99.

The family will receive friends at Seymour Funeral Home on Tuesday, Dec. 21 from 3 until 5 p.m. He will be buried with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery next to his beloved wife.

He was born in New York City to Joseph and Madeline Holtoner. Following his graduation from Townsend Harris Hall in 1928, he attended New York University, where he received his bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering in 1932. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1932. After earning his pilot's wings in 1934, he was assigned to the First Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan. After stints in Hawaii, Michigan and Florida, he began World War II as a lieutenant colonel in command of the 342nd Composite Group, a fighter group distinguished by shooting down the first German aircraft shot down by an American unit flying American equipment in the war. He later served in Italy with the 82nd Fighter Group and was assigned to a number of locations during the ensuing years, always flying and researching military aircraft. In January 1952, then Colonel Holtoner became commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California. In December of that year, he was raised to the rank of brigadier general, and during his five years as commander, he turned the lagging post-war center into a leader in military aircraft testing and research, adding extensive facilities and runway at the center. In the summer of 1953, General Holtoner won the Thompson Trophy Race, establishing a new world speed record while flying the North American F-86D Sabrejet that he had helped design several years prior at the Pentagon's Air Research and Development Command. He was No. 9 to join the 1,000 MPH Club. For his contribution to the development of the new, all-jet Air Force during his time at Edwards, General Holtoner was awarded both the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Legion of Merit. When he retired, he was considered one of the most experienced pilots in the Air Force, having flown airplanes from open cockpit fighters in the first days of the Army Air Corps to the P-38, P-39 and P-40 fighters of World War II to the early "F-century" series of modern jet fighters. He also flew the Bell X-1, flew the first B-47, B-52, B-66 bombers and tested numerous helicopters.

General Holtoner is preceded in death by his wife, Mary Jane Holtoner, and his son, J. Stanley Holtoner Jr. He is survived by his sister, Doris Holtoner Paul; daughter, Mary Jane Holtoner II; grandson, Bill Gibbons and wife, Emily; and two great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers a contribution to Veterans of Foreign Wars in his honor.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.seymourfuneralhome.com.


Published in Obituaries on December 19, 2010 11:10 AM