Former Dayton Air Show chairman dies

A Lockheed F-35A flies at the Vectren Dayton Air Show in June, 2017. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
A Lockheed F-35A flies at the Vectren Dayton Air Show in June, 2017. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Donald J. Kinlin, a former chairman of the board and longtime board member of the Vectren Dayton Air Show, died Dec. 22.

He was 82.

Donald J. Kinlin
Donald J. Kinlin

“It’s with great sadness that I announce the passing of our dear friend and fellow board member, Don Kinlin,” said Scott Buchanan, chairman of the United States Air and Trade Show board of trustees, which produces the Vectren Dayton Air Show.

Kinlin, of Fleming Island, Fla., is survived by his wife of 61 years, Donna (McGrath) and their children, Karen (Barb) Kinlin, Donald Kinlin II, Joseph (Lisa) Kinlin, Kevin (Pam) Kinlin; nine grandchildren, Brandon Kinlin, Donald Kinlin III, Kelli Kinlin, Ryan Kinlin, Tanner Wilson, Kathleen Kinlin, Sean Kinlin, Jackson Kinlin, and Carter Kinlin; three great-grandchildren, Dale, Kole, and Patrick Kinlin.

Don was born in Boston on Nov. 29, 1938, to the late Joseph Kinlin and Ruth Byrne.

He began his Air Force career in 1959, retiring 24 years later. After retiring from the Air Force, Don entered private practice and retired as a partner with the Thompson Hine law firm.

Don was the chairman of the air show for many years and continued to serve on the board until his death. He was also a member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame Board.

“Don was instrumental in making the Vectren Dayton Air Show the success it is today,” Buchanan also said. “His passion for the show and Dayton was evident whenever you saw Don.”

“As a past board member, I have good memories of Don and I will miss him a lot,” said Timothy Gaffney, who also covered the air show as a former aviation writer for the Dayton Daily News. “Don served on the board for many years and left his imprint on it. The SOAR program to give underprivileged kids a chance to experience the show was his initiative. He was forward looking and kept the air show’s long-term needs in mind.”

The Students Open to Aviation Research (SOAR) program gave area children the opportunity to experience an air show or climb around in an airplane and meet the plane’s pilot and the crew.

There will be a military funeral scheduled later at Dayton National Cemetery in Ohio.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to a Veterans home or the Alzheimer’s Association.

The air show plans to honor Kinlin at this year’s show, on July 10 and 11, event organizers said.