Kyle Garland – 81 of Knoxville, TN, passed away on April 24, 2019 at NHC Farragut. Born in Tuskeegee, NC in 1937, he grew up in Robbinsville, NC, graduating from Robbinsville High School. In 1958 he received a B.S. in Business Administration from Western Carolina University. Shortly thereafter he entered the Naval Air Basic Training program at the Naval Station in Pensacola, Fl.
He completed his Naval Aviation training receiving his wings in 1959. That year he had his first aircraft carrier landing on the USS Antietam. In 1960 Garland was assigned to the Navy’s Airborne Early Warning Barrier Squadron Pacific stationed on Midway Island flying the WV2 Super Constellation. The Super Con began service in 1957, had a crew of 22, and was notoriously difficult to fly. In fact, three months after arriving on Midway, Garland witnessed a Super Con crash which killed 9 fellow Navy airmen. In 1962 Garland received his Naval certification as a Test Pilot and was promoted to Aircraft Commander, the youngest in the Pacific Fleet. In ’67 Garland was appointed Lieutenant Commander and left the Navy’s active roster shortly thereafter. Also in 1967 he began flying for Pan American Airways. Based in San Francisco, Garland flew all of Pan Am’s Pacific routes.
In the mid-70s Pan Am fell on hard times caused by the Arab Oil embargo and government de-regulation, and they began furloughing pilots. In order to continue to fly for his beloved Pan Am he received his Flight Engineer certification and flew all of their Atlantic destinations from JFK, New York.
A tragic accident in 1977 ended his aviation career. Though told he would never walk again, Garland persevered through years of physical rehab (including a stint at the Patricia Neal institute) and eventually learned to walk again. He went “Back to School” earning three B.S. degrees (Finance, Economics and Banking) from the University of Tennessee. He spent the remainder of his life volunteering at his churches in NC and TN and assisting friends in need. During his aviation carrier he landed on over 150 major airfields. Hong Kong and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba were among his favorites.
Garland was preceded in death by his parents Guy and Pauline Guge Garland. He is survived by his sisters Wanda Garland of Knoxville, TN and Dr. Teresa Ann Garland of Robbinsville, NC; his children Wil Garland of Hendersonville, TN, Kimberly Garland and Amy Garland, both of Knoxville, TN; and his grandchildren Megan Garland Blackwell of Atlanta, GA and Max Garland residing in Memphis, TN.
The family will receive friends at Townson-Smith Funeral Home in Robbinsville, NC on Saturday April 27th from 1PM to 3PM. Funeral Services will be held beginning at 3PM. Burial will be at the Guge Cemetery following the service where Military rites and Flag Presentation will be conducted by the U.S. Naval Honor Guard.
Townson-Smith Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Garland Family. An online register is available at www.townson-smithfuneralhome.com