Paul Garber
Courtesy Smithsonian Institution

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Paul Garber

       I never thought the day would come when I would be writing the final farewell to my very dear friend Early Bird Paul Edward Garber, age 93, who passed away in his sleep September 23, 1992 after being hospitalized. He was the first President of the Early Birds since its inception in 1929. Through the years he served as secretary, president, advisor, historian and chairman of several committees of the Early Birds. He and Forrest Wysong did the "Chirp" for many years and most recently Paul was an active member of that committee since 1985
     The National Air & Space Museum was created in 1946 by President Truman as a separate entity of the Smithsonian and Paul was assigned as its curator. He was affiliated with the Smithsonian for 73 years. In recent years, the Garber Hill Restoration Center at Silver Hill, Maryland kept him busy getting old relics spruced up for showing. Many of the famous planes on display at the Smithsonian were acquired by the Garber method (finagling). "I'll beg, or do whatever is necessary to get the old, famous airplanes for display at the museum!" and he did, ending up with the most complete collection in the world.
     Although Paul was not great of stature he was mighty in action in the aviation world and held many awards for his efforts in preserving the history and the planes of early days of flying. The later years were spent giving programs and relating the stories about the beginning and progress of flying history.
     Paul's final resting place is in Arlington National Cemetery. He was preceded in death by his loving wife Irene "Buttons" and survived by two sons, James Paul and Edgar William and a daughter Barbara Jane (Barbara passed away this past week).
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP, March, 1976, Number 82
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