William E. Linn

For those of you who may not have heard through friends or classmates, William “Bill” Evan Linn, USAFA Class of 1975, hometown Novato, Calif., died of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) at his home in Minneapolis, Minn. on March 2, 1991.

After many of you last saw Bill he went on to try his hand professionally at several arts: pilot training, nav school, B-52s, and finally departing the Air Force, bachelor’s degree (geography) in hand, 10 cents in his pocket, a diploma from a three-week course from a matchbook cover called “How to be a Travel Agent,” and a never-say-die attitude, he set out for Atlanta. Ga.

Right up the ladder he went: First, agent for Francis Travel in Atlanta; then manager, Independence Travel, Atlanta; then director of franchises, First World Travel, Midwest Region, Minneapolis; on to sales manager, Republic Airlines, Minneapolis; then sales manager, Northwest Airlines, Minneapolis; and finally PARS (Northwest Airlines’ reservation system) manager of sales and marketing, Northwest Airlines, Minneapolis. That was Bill’s professional course. 

In life, Bill’s wanderlust took him world-wide. (The bachelor’s degree in geography and the travel agency diploma paid off!) His travels took him to Japan, Hong Kong, The Philippines, Thailand, Ireland, Scotland, England, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Greece, Mexico, Canada, Ecuador, and all over the United States (and he could name all the capitals and discuss various aspects of all their geographies).

But what counts is that Bill caught us all up in his journey — caring, sharing and showing us that life can be rich, happy, simple in its complexities, and delightful in its simplicity — absolutely worth the ride. 

– Kenneth F. Rash, pilot, North West Airlines (on behalf of Bill’s parents, William and Eve Linn of Novato, Calif)



Photographs and Memories