Celebrating the life of Rolan Tedman Albright
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Rolan was preceded in death by his parents, wife- Dorothy Frances Roach Albright, wife- Gayle Frances McGuire Rom Albright, infant brother- Robert Albright, sister-Bonnie Marjorie( Robert"Bob") Hayton, brother- James "Jim" William (Lee, Bonnie) Albright, and sister-Peggie Jean "Jeanie" (George) Stedman.
Survivors include: daughter-Wenda Rae Albright Wickland. son in law- Terry David Wickland, grandson- Leif Wendal Wickland, grand daughter in law Elizabeth Bitikofer Wickland, great grand daughter- Eliana Leiveka Wickland, grandson- Eric James Wickland, and numerous neices and nephews
Rolan had an amazing work ethic from growing up on the family truck garden/ poultry ranch during the depression. It was simple: if you wanted food to eat, you worked to make it happen. (II Thessalonians 3:10)
Rolan went to Pilot Rock School up river from Arrow Junction on the Potlatch. His mother was a teacher in the one room stone building. With fond appreciation he would remember his Latin teacher who tutored him at 7 a.m. each class day preparing him for daily rote lessons typical of the times. Rolan played pep band clarinet as a Lewiston High School Bengal, graduating in 1944. When EDDY testing for WWII military electronics education placement found twelve very talented LHS students, Rolan was among the US Navy enlistees who went to boot camp and accelerated electronic radio technician math classes. He was one of two LHS sailors to graduate that schooling and survive the war. Both sailors learned to fly as civilians. Many times he said getting good grades kept him alive, as those with less than 80% gades flunked and were soon shipped out; those 10 other LHS studentas, he heard, were lost. After the Navy schools he was assigned to the Philippines to maintain a radio transmitter site near Subic Bay.
After the Navy Rolan hitchhiked back to Idaho and worked with his brother, Jim, maintaining the turkey herds and working on a refuse pickup service. While building houses near Asotin, Washington, Rolan met Dorothy F, Roach and they were married in Lewiston, Idaho, on 30 October 1948. In June 1951 they were blessed with daughter Wenda Rae. Rolan and Jim worked Albright's Poultry business, from incubation to processing and delivery until 1958 when businesses in the southern states could raise poultry less expensively.
Rolan took a light aircraft plane ride and was hooked. He soloed and got licenses quickly and met a fellow named Dean Wilson who taught him to be an aerial applicator. Rolan flew a Pitcairn PA-5 Mail Wing as his first spray plane. He took to it wholeheartedly and learned from his mistakes. In 1961 Rolan began flying to cities around Idaho and into Washington for a place to get into the flying business.
He heard about an opportunity in Roundup and in December 1961 he and the family drove to Roundup to look things over. He made a deal and Albright's Flying Inc. came into being. Rolan found a little house on 5th ave. E. behind the courthouse. A few months later Dorothy and Wenda moved to Roundup. He brought a 1946 BC-12D Taylorcraft to Roundup.
In Roundup, part of the purchase was a Call-Air A-5 converted for aerial application. Next he found a 1958 Cessna 180 that used a Sorenson spray system and able to haul more. That led to a 1967 Cessna A185E, using the Sorenson system. Rolan also taught many to fly and in 1973 the first student he had in Roundup was managing a business in Missoula. He told Rolan he would sell him any new Cessna aircraft at his cost. Rolan chose an A185F Skywagon with floatplane fittings. Again utilizing the Sorenson System that allowed the aircraft to do multiple jobs with easy (relatively) removal of the spray gear. Skydiving, charter, instructing students, and many unusual requests could be done relatively quickly. One summer evening a fellow applicator from Colorado needed a 9 foot aircraft propeller picked up from the airlines and delivered to Scobey. With seats removed, it fit and was unloaded in Scobey a couple hours later. Heading back towards Roundup a line of thunderstorms blocked the route. Rolan and Terry landed in Malta and rested in the plane waiting until first light to leave for home.
About 1976 the business bought a second A185F, this one was a 1973 AgCarryall and had been built at the factory for aerial application with special corrosion resistant paint and other safety features. Ground crewman, Ron Belcher, and his pilot son, Ken, worked various seasons.
With two aircraft, Rolan needed another commercial pilot. Charles "Orville" Moore came to the business. Thank you Orville for years of accident free flying. Rolan flew "Bluebird", the 74 model, and Orville flew "Redbird", chased by Terry in the "Roadrunner", covering the counties around Roundup. Wheatland tended to be a challenge with wind, wind and more wind. However, with corporate farming in Big Horn county, many early mornings were required.
In 1976 another adventure started with a new Super Cub for predator control in the winter months. The winter of 77/78 necessitated skis for safer off airport landings. F. Atlee Dodge wooden skis were acquired but soon required heavy duty landing gear along with suspension safety cables, also supplied by Mr. Dodge.
Rolan and Orville went to Arkansas to look at the M -12 Dromader and were able to fly one. Eventually Rolan decided not to go that way.
In 1983 Rolan decided that Cessna Ag Huskies might work well. Two were found in Oklahoma that came with spreaders. They had been ordered for export but the deal fell through and they sat outside quite a while. Their white overall paint was dull and needed repainting; so, yes, they became the new Bluebird and Redbird. When grasshoppers became a problem the Huskies were calibrated for ULV Malathion which is applied without being diluted.
Other aircraft the company utilized were multiple Cessna 172s, BC-12Ds, a Cessna 170B, a Cessna AgWagon and maybe the least favorite was a Piper PA-22 TriPacer which some also call a TriRock.
About 1987 Rolan decided he would retire and in early 1988 sold the business. That started a new chapter in his life and he did a lot of other projects like cutting firewood on Goulding Creek for disabled or widowed, and church projects plus somethings just to keep busy.
In 1979 Wenda and Terry made Rolan a grandpa with Leif Wendal and then in 1983 a second time with Eric James. In 2006 Leif and Elizabeth made him a great grandpa with Eliana Leiveka.
A 1976 Cessna Skyhawk was not sold with the business. Dorothy enjoyed flying it with anyone she could get to go along, a possible fair number of you readers. After Dorothy graduated from this earth in 1997, Rolan sold the Skyhawk; it remains at the Roundup airport. The Skyhawk will once again fly over it's former owner's Military honors graveside celebration of life.
Later in 1997 Rolan married Gayle Frances McGuire Rom; they enjoyed his caring for her 20 years until her passing.
1966 brought construction at the airport of a new shop/hangar/office/lounge, utilizing lumber traded for spraying. In the 80s another room adjoining the hangars was added for storage.
In 1967 Rolan and Dorothy built a home on a high spot northeast of the Roundup Memorial Healthcare resthome.
In 1983 Rolan helped Wenda and Terry build a home on Terry's parents' and grandparents' former property. Terry had joined the business in May 1972 after his Navy enlistment, to help maintain equipment and keep the aircraft supplied for aerial application.
Emmanuel Baptist Church, Templed Hills Baptist Camp, and Camp Lewtana benefitted from many projects Rolan accomplished before and after retiring.
Another flight student became a missionary and was assigned to Guatemala. In the fall- winter for 18 years Rolan and Dorothy flew the 185 full of gifts and neccessities (peanut butter} to the missionaries. Rolan helped Phil transport people and supplies to unimproved landing areas.
A Memorial service will be held 6 August 2019, at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 6th and Main Street, Roundup, MT, at 2 PM, followed by Inurnment at the Roundup City Cemetery off Highway 12, east of Roundup. A reception will follow at the Musselshell County Central Commons, Senior Center, 6th Ave. W and 2nd St W., catering to Rolan's poultry and produce past.
Should you desire to honor Rolan by memorial please consider Emmanuel Baptist Church, Roundup, MT. or Oldtimers Against Alzheimers softball game fundraiser 3 August 2019.
As was the "86" of RRT Roundup Runways weekly activity article: Keep Looking Up!
To plant a tree in memory of Rolan Tedman Albright, visit the Tribute Store.
Celebration of Life
602 Main Street
Roundup, MT 59072
620 2nd St. West
Roundup, MT 59072