William Commodore Bainbridge Jr.

William Commodore Bainbridge Jr. (Bill) 100 years old went to his eternal resting place in heaven October 3, 2017.

He was born September 1, 1917 the eldest child of Nelda and William C Bainbridge Sr. He has now joined his wife of 62 years Evelyn H. Bainbridge ( 1925 – 2009) in heaven. He was also predeceased by his brother Richard Bainbridge and 2 sisters Lois Haymaker and Anne Bailey. He is survived by his 4 children, Bill Bainbridge III of Newton KS, Marsha Carpenter of Dallas TX, Jean Bainbridge of Dallas TX, Mark Bainbridge of Lake Quivira KS, 10 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

Bill graduated from Alma College In 1939 with a teaching degree in history. Teaching jobs were scarce at the time, so he worked in construction until he joined the Army Air Corps in March 1941. Prior to the beginning of World War II the army began cutting back on flight training and Bill was honorably discharged after only 8 weeks of training. His flight instructor encouraged him to continue to pursue civilian flight training, which he did, receiving his primary and secondary licenses in December 1941, and thereafter his advanced commercial, instrument, and instructor’s licenses in September 1942.

In October 1942 Bill was hired by TWA as a co-pilot on DC 3’s flying routes out of the TWA home base at what is now KC Downtown airport. On one of his earlier flights he met his future wife, Evelyn, who was on her first flight as a stewardess (flight attendant) for TWA. For many years, Bill told friends that he knew then then that he had met the love of his life on that flight. After they married, he and Evelyn found property at Lake Quivira KS. and Evelyn, ever the artist, designed a house that Bill himself built for their growing family. Bill, Evelyn, and the children enjoyed the house for the next 50 Years.

During his career Bill moved up from DC 3’s to Martin 202’s and 404’s, then Lockheed Constellations, Boeing 707’s 720’s, and 727’s and finally Boeing 747’s, which he flew from 1971 until he was required by US law to retire on his 60th birthday in 1977. TWA was one of only 2 US international “flag” carriers during Bill’s career, and in his 35 years with TWA, Bill flew all over the world, often going all the way around it on his trips.

Upon his retirement, Bill continued flying for non-US based air carriers flying out of Pakistan, Indonesia, India, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia. From 1979 to July 1982 he was chief pilot of Aero Uruguay, a cargo carrier based in Montevideo Uruguay and Luxembourg, flying special cargo such as lambs to Argentina or dairy cattle to Moscow.  In 1983, TWA re- hired Bill to help interview and evaluate prospective pilots and he continued that activity until 1986.

Bill recalled that during his flying career he had 10 engine failures, one engine fire, and other in-flight “incidents” such as bomb scares, hydraulics failures on a 707 and on a 747, and various passenger problems. Upon his return home from his trips he always reported that the trip was “routine”.

Bill was very giving, in particular toward his family, his church and numerous Christian organizations and missionaries around the world. His wife Evelyn reflected that Bill was committed to a tithe or more from the very beginning of their marriage. This commitment lasted his entire life.

On September 30, 2012, at age 95, Bill, as part of a charitable event, achieved a life-long goal of skydiving, by jumping out of a perfectly good airplane tethered to an instructor. He will always be remembered for this final flight. In the words of a publication of retired TWA pilots he has now “flown West”. Fly on Bill, you will always be missed by those who knew and loved you.


Funeral service will be held Saturday, October 7th at 10:30 AM at Lenexa Baptist Church, 15320 W 87th St Pkwy, Lenexa, KS 66219.  Burial will be at Johnson County Memorial Gardens in Overland Park, KS.

Memorial Contributions

The family suggests that any donations may be made to:

Lenexa Baptist Church
15320 W 87th St Pkwy
Lenexa, KS 66219

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Posted in Kansas City Obituaries, Obituaries | on Wednesday, Oct. 4th 2017 | 4 Comments »

4 Comments on “William Commodore Bainbridge Jr.”

  1. Bruce & Roberta Bird Says:

    Dear Friends,
    We know you are saddened at the passing of your father but we rejoice with you that he has now received his eternal rest in our Lord and Savior. We remember with great joy the many events your parents hosted and the ways in which they helped us at HOPE Lutheran as young youth leaders. We will not be with you at the services but your family is in our prayers.

    Roberta & Bruce

  2. Jennifer Ashby Says:

    Fly away Bill.
    You will always be remembered as a wonderful neighbor and friend. It was a joy knowing you and Evelyn and having the pleasure of getting to know your children Jeanand Mark.
    You had a long and fruitful life and passed along so many wonderful qualities to your children. May you rest in peace
    Jenny Ashby and Dick

  3. Margie Watson Says:

    To Bill’s family, I just want you to know that I so respected Bill. I worked with him as an accountant on Bridge of Life for probably the whole 20 years I have been with Keller & Owens. I loved that he was so active and was still snow skiing when I first met him. He was an amazing example of how to age gracefully and remain fully alive. I am thankful God granted him such a full and rewarding life with an incredible eternity to share with Jesus and all his family and friends that have gone on before him. Great to know I will get to see him again in heaven.

  4. Stephen & Shelly Bailey Says:

    To Uncle Bill’s family-We just discovered the news of his passing and are so sorry to hear it. He will always be remembered as kind, gracious, and caring. He was a good brother to Mom, and very much a comfort to her in her final days. Thinking of you in your loss.

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