By Gary Ness
Jack Daniels of Williston, ND passed away last week, having spent over 50 years impacting aviation not only in North Dakota, but nationwide. He began his career as an aviation machinist mate attached to a F4U squadron in the South Pacific during WWII. He returned to Billings, Montana after the war and pursued his aviation interests. In 1946, he moved to Williston and worked with Stockman Flying Service. In 1950 he bought out Stockman and established SerVair Inc., an air charter, air frame and power plant repair station which he ran until his retirement in 1994. As the airport manager from 1950 to 1985, he was instrumental in the development of Sloulin Field from a 23 acre plot to a 680 acre facility with an Instrument Landing System (ILS), customs office and a NOAA Weather Station. The Jack Daniels Airpark at Sloulin Field was named in his honor.
Daniels dedicated countless hours in support of aviation on both the state and national levels. He has been a member of the National Aviation Transportation Association (NATA) since 1957 and has served on the Board for 11 years. His belief in the importance of the Essential Air Service Program (EAS) was instrumental in creating the National Committee of City and States for Air Service (NCCSAS) which represents the communities in the EAS program.
Daniels was appointed to the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission in 1961 and served for 36 years. He was elected chairman for the last 17 of those years. He was instrumental in the formation of the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA) and served as the Director and later its Chairman. NDAA has evolved into today’s North Dakota Aviation Council.
Among the awards that Daniels has received are the “Lifetime Achievement Award” given by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Williston Chamber of Commerce honored him for “Outstanding Contribution and Unwavering Service to the Williston Community”. Daniels was 86.