Gail Wilfred Schwarte (November 3, 2011)

Gail Wilfred Schwarte, the son of Henry Rudolph and Ella Marie (Frank) Schwarte, was born on April 4, 1949, west of Earling, Iowa. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Earling, and attended St. Joseph Catholic School; he graduated in 1967. Following graduation, Gail attended one year of trade school at Universal Trade in Omaha, Nebraska, where he studied Auto Mechanics.

Gail was drafted into the U.S. Army, and he served nine months in Vietnam. After his discharge, he worked at Wilwerding Auto Craft. He later purchased the business and called it Schwarte Auto Craft, which he operated until 2004. Gail and Kelly opened S & S Car Wash in Earling in 2007.

In 1975, Gail earned his pilot’s license, and at one time owned his own airplane. He later flew for several small carriers. In 1987, he began flying for Northwest Airlines, and was currently flying for Delta Airlines. Throughout his career, Gail had worked to attain the rank of captain, and he flew several models and sizes of aircraft. He had recently flown to Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean.

Gail was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Earling, Iowa. He was a Third Degree Knight of Columbus Council #1741. Gail’s life changed when his grandchildren were born, and they became the center of his life. They called him “AMPA”, and he was the greatest grandpa ever. A common man of many interests and projects, he enjoyed carpentry, building, auto body painting, and was a skilled welder. Gail liked working on classic cars and antique International Farmall tractors and riding his motorcycle.

Gail W. Schwarte died on Thursday, November 3, 2011, at his home in Earling, Iowa, at the age of 62 years, 6 months, and 30 days.

Gail was preceded in death by his parents; one son, Tracy Schwarte; and one granddaughter, Paige Schwarte. He is survived by his special friend, Anita Buckley of Earling, Iowa; one son, Kelly (Tina) Schwarte of Earling, Iowa; three grandchildren, Febee Schwarte, Parker Schwarte, and Pyper Schwarte; and other relatives and friends.

Mass of Christian Burial was held on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Earling, Iowa, with Father Chris Fontanini and Father Larry Hoffmann celebrating. Mary Wilwerding and Tyler Gubbels were the musicians. Serving as casket bearers were Jim Gaul, Phil Blum, Melvin Bruck, Allen Bruck, Steve Havens, and Gerald Kohles. Burial was in the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Earling, Iowa, with military rites by the American Legion Post #615. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan was in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be left online at

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26 Responses to Gail Wilfred Schwarte (November 3, 2011)

  1. Alan Ross says:

    Served with Schwarte in Vietnam. Helped him get an “early out”. Always wondered what became of him. Glad he had a good life. Recently posted a picture of him on my Facebook page. He was a really nice guy. So sorry I couldn’t locate him before his passing.

  2. Steve Zimmerman says:

    It was such a shock to hear of Gails death. I only wish I had known of his death sooner,so as to have been able to attend his funeral. I wish I could find the words for his family. He is missed greatly, and I wish so much I could have talked to him and worked and played beside him again as we had done so before. REST IN PEACE GAIL……

  3. Captain Jacob Riordan says:

    I was very saddened by the news of Gail’s passing. It was always a good day when you saw his name on your trip. A confident and competent pilot, he was always there with a smile and jerky. We had several trips together but my first trip with him was when I was pretty new. He was very patient and he taught me a lot. His great attitude was infectious. He will be greatly missed. My thoughts go out to his family.

  4. Captain Kelly Hamilton says:

    Gail was a wonderful man, and a talented pilot. It was a joy to work with him. He helped me and many others when we first joined the airline industry. His lighthearted laugh and easy going way always made new folks feel welcome. I will miss him. Blessings to your family. Thank you for sharing him with the aviators of this world.

  5. Rex Blackburn says:

    Thanks for being such a great positive person one the rushed out-and-back from Detroit to Ottawa on Nov 18 last year. Short trip, but much learned. Rest in Peace, my friend.

  6. Gary Beek says:

    I was deeply saddened by the news of Gail s passing. My sympathy goes to the Schwarte family and friends. I had the privilege and honor to work with Gail as his co-pilot and as his supervisor while serving as the Assistant Chief Pilot in Mpls. Gail was an outstanding mentor and a true professional. He would consistently go above and beyond to ensure his passengers received the upmost comfort and customer service. Gail has touched the lives of many and will be missed but never forgotten.

  7. Ken Lindsey says:

    I am so very sorry to hear of Gail’s passing. I met Gail when he transferred to Atlanta to fly the CRJ900. Gail was a very genuinely kind and professional man. I am very glad to have known him if only for a short time.

  8. Pinnacle Maint. says:

    Gail was a great pilot and friend. He enjoyed all the maint. guys here in MN. and would make us some of his jerkey. Gail would call on the radio and say that ” he was packing ” and that was our cue to go out to his airplane and pick up the jerkey he had made for all of us. He will be greatly missed.

  9. Luke Pierce says:

    Gail was one of the hardest working guys you’ll ever meet. I’ll never forget the many stories and good times we shared while working together. My thoughts and prayers are with Gail’s family. Thanks for all the ham jerky and mentoring buddy!

  10. Jeff Tollefsrud says:

    I would like to extend my condolences to the Schwarte family. Although I did not know Captain Schwarte as I am a Captain with Mesaba Airlines, please know that you are all in my prayers during this difficult time.

  11. Nate & Jen Clark says:

    During ones life, it is an honor and privilege to meet, share, and learn from an honest, hardworking, and funloving person. Gail was such a person and he will be deeply missed (and his beef jerky).

  12. jean and joe sandbothe says:

    Kelly,Anita and all of Gails family.So sorry to hear of Gails passing,please know our thoughts and prayers are with you all as you cope with this sad time.

  13. Angie Kotula says:

    Gail brought me some salve for healing cuts. He swore by it. He MADE me use it. I still use it. The best stuff ever! He was a great friend. He was a caring friend. I’ll truely miss flying with him.

  14. Matt and Amy Koski says:

    Kelly, Tina and kids, Thinking of you at your time of loss. Prayers and hugs!

  15. Joseph & Donna (Weis) Adler says:

    Please accept our sympathy. Gail was a peach of a guy & a wonderful & fun gradeschool & highschool classmate. He will be missed. You are all in our prayers.

  16. Doug and Tresa Schwery says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We know how hard it is.

  17. Pam Stoltze says:

    Thoughts and prayers for all the families in this time of need.

  18. Alma Esser Brewer says:

    Anita,Kelly and Tina, I was so sorry to hear about Gail. We never know when or how, but he is at peace with God. He was a great classmate and friend. He will be missed. God bless all of you. Alma Brewer

  19. Captain Robert Shanahan says:

    It was always a pleasure flying with you Gail. Your smile and wonderful personality will be missed by all that knew you. Fly high with those new set wings and know you will be missed. Captain Robert Shanahan

  20. Robert Smith says:

    I am very sorry to hear of the passing of Gail. He was the first Captain I ever flew with as a new hire in Minneapolis. Although I changed bases and met many new people over the years I will never forget the confidence and good natured spirit he had. His attitude gave me confidence and ultimately made me a better pilot. Fly West Gail, you will be missed.

    Captain Robert “Bobby” Smith

  21. James Fields says:

    My sympathies and condolences go out to Gails friends and family. He was a wonderful guy. It is so sad to hear of his quick passing as I just flew a few trips with him just a couple weeks ago . He will not be forgotten .


    Dear Anita, Tina, and Kelly, I am so sorry for your loss. Gail, was a good friend and mentor to me. When we were new to the CRJ, he taught me things that aren’t in the books which made me a better and safer pilot. I am always grateful for that! I know y’all are hurting now, and I will miss him too. FLY WEST, MY FRIEND, GAIL!

  23. Terry & Donna Harvell says:


  24. Jim & Jackie Schaben says:

    Anita,Kelly&Tina, So shocked and sadened to hear about Gail, Please know we are thinking of you all at this sad time. Jim & Jackie

  25. Francis Frank says:

    Kelly, Pleas accept my sincere condolances. I was shocked when I heard of your father’s death Maria & I are in Madrid,Spain. Sorry we won’t make it back for the services. Uncle Francis & Maria

  26. Michelle Garside says:

    Kelly, Tina & family – We are so saddened to hear about the passing of Gail. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers. May god give you strength and courage as you work through this difficult time.

    Love, Shelly, Scott & the boys

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