Every once in a while, a person enters your life - a person who isn't just one person but who seems to be several, all wrapped up into one. Rich Pendergist was one of those people.
Rich showed up one day at the airport and wanted to learn to fly ultralights. He did, bought a plane, flew a while and then decided to become an instructor, which he promptly did. He was very active as an instructor.
Somewhere along the line, he was elected as president of Flying Club 1 and became a very active and good president. Over that period, we learned that Rich a full life before his flying started. He had been an enlisted photographer in the Navy and then a Photo Officer. After leaving the Navy, he used those photo-related talents while working with FAA. He used them again later, while a member of Club 1, when he answered an invitation to help USUA headquarters with their public relations efforts. A little more than a year later, he was asked by the Board of Directors of USUA to become the organization's Executive Vice President. If there was ever a person and a job that fit, this was that combination. Rich was on the way to taking USUA in directions it badly needed to go when the unthinkable happened.
On October 18, 2003, Rich was participating in Flying Club 1's Fall Color Run and, with Club Treasurer, Mike Moulds as his student. had flown down the Shenandoah Valley and crossed back to the east side. There, his plane crashed and both Rich and Mike were killed.
Rich's sudden loss was a tremendous blow to Club 1 and to its members, to USUA headquarters, and to the entire USUA membership. To say that we miss him is a major understatement.