Larry Quinton was the voice of The Gathering of the Classics

By Gord McNulty, CAHS Vice President, with photos and captions from Natalie Quinton

Bellanca Cruisemaster Larry Quinton 545

Note from Natalie Quinton: Dad loved his Bellanca Cruisemaster. He likened it to Jayne Mansfield, one could dream of it but never really expect to have it. Well, around 1986 he bought the Cruisemaster and flew it all over the States and Canada and even to the Bahamas. it was a class winner at Oshkosh about 5 years ago or so.

Canadian aviation lost a significant contributor and personality this year with the death of Larry Quinton of Collingwood, longtime announcer of the annual Gathering of the Classics fly-in held by the Edenvale Classic Aircraft Foundation.

Larry, 77, was a mainstay of the popular event at the Edenvale Aerodrome in the picturesque Collingwood region. He was familiar to many as the gentleman who donned a broad-brimmed hat, chose a seat in the shade, took the microphone and shared his extensive knowledge of aviation and love of flying. He would also take the mike as he rode on a hay wagon with spectators touring the flight line along dozens of visiting aircraft. Larry, an excellent commentator, also announced at the seaplane fly-ins held at Lake St. John Airport near Orillia.

I enjoyed conversing with Larry at Edenvale every year. He flew a Bellanca Cruisemaster and really liked it on account of its lively performance. This year, the visiting aircraft included the Canadian Warplane Heritage DC-3 in wartime “Canucks Unlimited” Dakota colours. In fact, I brought notes that I intended to share with Larry about the loss this year of Hon. Col (Ret’d) Art Adams, known as the “brick bomber” who dropped a load of bricks on a Japanese seaplane from a Canucks Unlimited Dakota in Burma, as described in the July issue of the Newsletter.

I was surprised and saddened to learn that Larry died on January 21 in Tampa, Fl. After spending time with his family in Canada, he was flying back from an international blues festival on his way to his winter residence in the U.S. when he died. As the family obituary stated, “Larry left us exactly as he wanted, enjoying life to the fullest.”

Larry’s aviation background included volunteer leadership of the Kingston Flying Club, the Edenvale Flying Club, and the Sun ‘n’ Fun International Fly-In, among many others. The obituary stated he was “an avid Blues musician and enjoyed jamming any chance he could get, with his well-known harmonica sling thrown over his shoulder.”

A celebration of life service was held for Larry at St. Philip’s Anglican Church, Walter’s Falls, on February 3. His absence was conspicuous at Edenvale this year. Larry will be missed, but fondly remembered by all who knew him.

Great Belvedere Air Dash 1974 BC Interior 545

Note from Natalie Quinton: This photo is our Stinson during our adventure in the Great Belvedere Air Dash of 1974. We were the only complete family to fly by air. Dad didn't do any of the competitive parts, estimating your time, your fuel consumption etc. etc. He was just happy to do it. Because we were the only complete family, including three young (3-9) girls, our family was interviewed by small town newspapers all along the trip. This photo was taken in the BC interior and ran in the local paper. It was either Castlegar or Penticton I believe. L to R Natalie (7), Larry, Leslie (9), Julia (3) and Lorraine Quinton.

Larry Quinton in home built Woodypusher late 1960s 545

Note from Natalie Quinton: This was the first plane my Dad built with a couple of other pilots. A Woodpusher, about 1966 I think. Dad was a big man, over 6 feet 2 inch, and I have no idea how he fit into this plane! We do have a Super 8 film, no sound, of this plane doing touch and goes. I'm pretty sure this would have been out of Oshawa airport or in the vicinity.

Taylorcraft 1988 545

Note from Natalie Quinton: This is Larry's Taylorcraft - a two seater, fabric airplane identical to the one he learned to fly in around 1965. Dad bought it ostensibly to teach his three daughters how to fly, but because we all grew up flying, it wasn't that special.

Once my Dad and I almost crash landed this little two seater in November because his big size 13 right foot was on both rudders as we were coming into Kingston Airport for our final approach. Gave us a bit of a fright.

The Taylorcraft had an ignoble end when someone who rented it from Dad flew it through some hydro lines on Wolfe Island. The pilot walked away without a scratch but the Taylorcraft was ruined.