June Marie Poage, 63, Carroll County airport operator

May 27, 2002|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

June Marie Poage, who took Carroll County Regional Airport from a dirt runway to a hub for corporate jets, died of cancer Thursday at Carroll County General Hospital. The Westminster resident was 63.

Mrs. Poage had been president of Westair Inc., which operates the airport, for 23 years. She also was active in civic affairs as a member of numerous organizations and served on the board of the former FCNB Bank.

"She was a person of high energy," said her sister-in-law, Phyllis Poage Musgrove. "She was one of those people on the move. It is like she derived energy from it."

Mrs. Poage and her husband, pilot Jack B. Poage, took over the 120-acre site in 1979, forming Westair. As president, Mrs. Poage had duties ranging from staying in touch with pilots to putting on an annual air show in the spring. Hundreds of pilots used the airport as their base, and it had about 120,000 takeoffs a year.

During Mrs. Poage's tenure, more than $15 million in federal, state and county funds were spent on runway improvements and a new fuel storage system in an attempt to make the airport a favored stop for pilots flying the mid-Atlantic states.

"For the most part, she was here every day of the week making sure things were running smoothly," said Keith Erickson, a pilot at the airport.

June Hoffmann was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Runnemede, N.J., where she worked as a secretary for RCA-Victor. She moved to Maryland in the late 1960s.

She was working as a secretary at Harford County/Aldino Airport in Bel Air when she met her husband in 1974. He operated a maintenance shop and taught aerobatic flying there.

Mrs. Poage's husband was killed Sept. 23, 1990, in an air show accident at Martin State Airport in Middle River.

The veteran flier and instructor was performing before 15,000 spectators when his plane took a nose dive after a spin and crashed. He was 62, and the couple had been married for 15 years.

After his death, the Westminster airport was renamed Carroll County Regional Airport/Jack B. Poage Field.

"A lot of responsibility fell right on her shoulders," said her brother, Joseph O. Hoffmann of Cape May, N.J. "When he was killed, she had to assume everything."

Mrs. Poage was a member of the Westminster Lions Club, the Rotary Club of Bonds Meadow, Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, Carroll County Cancer Support Group and Carroll County Hospital Ladies Auxiliary, and served as fashion show coordinator and was past president of the former Gladys Wimert Lioness Club.

In 1993, the chamber voted Mrs. Poage "Miss Dependability."

Services were held yesterday in Westminster.

In addition to her brother, Mrs. Poage is survived by four stepsons, Jack Edward "Edwin" Poage of Covington, Va., Douglas Poage of Spirit Lake, Idaho, Gregory A. Poage of York, Pa., and Jeffrey B. Poage of Eldersburg; and seven grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial donations to Carroll Hospice, 95 Carroll St., Westminster 21157; or to Cancer Support Group, 7910 Belair Road, Baltimore 21236.

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