Glen Allen Ogilvie, 98 years and 11 months old, passed away in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 17, 2020. Glen was born December 16, 1921 in Richfield, Utah, the fourth son to William George and Ida Ogilvie. When Glen was two years old, his family moved to Garfield, Utah, a mining town near Salt Lake City. Although automobiles had made an appearance in Utah by then, they were not common in those days, so the Ogilvie family made the 169-mile move by horse and buggy.
Glen was an independent child. When he was three years old, he took a sled by himself down a snowy hill from his home to the local post office. It was tiny by today’s standards. Little Glen looked up at the postman through the window, placed a coin on the counter, and told the postman that he wanted a baby sister. It wasn’t long after that he got one!
A few years later the family moved again, this time to Lake Breeze, a neighborhood in Salt Lake City. At ten years old, Glen got a newspaper route, which included delivery at the Salt Lake City Airport. A mechanic at the airport befriended this young newspaper carrier and taught him about airplanes. The mechanic needed another hand in order to sew the fabric onto the airplane wings, and Glen was handy, curious, and available. As each part of the process progressed, the mechanic taught the boy how to seal the fabric on the wings, sand the wings, and then paint the wings. Each new step led to the next, and eventually, Glen was learning how engines worked. This early introduction to airplanes and engines determined the direction of his life’s work from that point forward. Glen spent many years around the airport, making friends, earning free airplane rides for both himself and his family and friends (as repayment for his child labor), and even taking flying lessons.
After graduating from West High School, Glen enrolled at the University of Utah before he was drafted into WWII. He had been active in ROTC in high school and at the University (training on horseback), so when he completed the program, he expected to be assigned as an officer in the infantry. Because he scored 100% on the Army's Mechanical Aptitude Test, he was assigned to the United States Army Air Corps as a private. His disappointment was overcome with thankfulness when he saw the war from the air. He recognized that his assignment to the USAAC was less dangerous than an assignment in the infantry would have been, and that assignment had possibly saved his life.
Glen served with the 390th Squadron and the 366th Fighter Group in the European arena. During this time, Glen became a crew chief for a P-47 fighter plane as well as working part-time on P-38 fighters. Near the end of the war, a call for a display of airpower was issued. They needed every available plane in the sky, and anyone who could fly was recruited. When a commanding officer found out that Glen had a little experience flying, Glen was assigned to spend the next three days practicing take-offs and landings. The airplanes he had been flying in had been smaller, slower airplanes, but for the display of airpower, Glen flew a much bigger and more powerful plane -- the 400 hp P-47. On the day of the display, the air space was filled with aircraft, and Glen was told he just needed to follow that plane in front of him. He couldn’t see forward very easily, and he didn’t know where he was or where he was going. It was an all-day adventure, and he just tried to keep the plane in front of him in sight. Glen found the experience thrilling but terrifying at the same time.
After Glen returned home from the war, he resumed his studies at the University of Utah and earned his Mechanical Engineering degree. He was a life-long learner, and during his career, he continued to take college courses and expand his knowledge. Glen worked in engineering fields for most of his career. His knowledge and experience in engineering included positions in design, development, aerospace, weapon systems, mechanical systems, logistics, and electronics. He also served in many positions of management and responsibility.
The last 17 years of his career were spent at Hill Air Force Base. His projects there included the GAU 8 Gatling gun and ammo for the A-10 Aircraft, and Air Force targets and drones. His primary focus was on missiles: the Minuteman intercontinental missile and silo systems, the Douglas Air-2A Genie Rocket, the Maverick Rocket, and the Cruise Missile. Glen was able to watch the missiles he had worked on during television coverage of Desert Storm and was excited when he saw his missiles in action. He was very proud of his work and felt that his efforts had been instrumental in shortening the war and thus had saved lives.
He was honored with a special assignment in September 1981 as the key program planner on the B-52 React Team. He orchestrated the entire program. He was very proud of his work on it and kept the paper card with his credentials in his wallet, showing it to people when opportunities were presented.
Right before Glen turned 94 years old, he participated in the Honor Flight program, honoring those who had served in the military. He traveled to Washington DC, visited the war memorials, and was thanked for his service. He was photographed by the media and spent time with other WWII veterans. In 2019, as one of the oldest surviving veterans of WWII, Glen was invited to share stories at Fort Douglas during Memorial Day celebrations and later at SCERA Park in Orem on the 4th of July. He enjoyed telling these stories. As a result of his participation in the Fort Douglas event, he was discovered and interviewed by the Army National Guard. He was then invited as an honored guest to an elegant dinner and the Army National Guard’sVeteran’s Day concert, where video clips of his interview were played between the live band musical numbers.
Glen was a man of many interests. He repaired and maintained cars – the T-bird, the Cougar, Suzy – in the garage, tinkered with his lathe in his machine shop, fixed and remodeled things around the house, and enjoyed photography. He loved to help people, and this often took the form of teaching others about the things that he was so passionately interested in – engines and other things with fine mechanical parts. He raised a generation of young people who could work on their own cars, fix plumbing problems, put up sheetrock, and take good photos.
He traveled in Utah and surrounding states, and in later years visited Hawaii, Alaska, the Western Caribbean, and the Panama Canal. He enjoyed taking photographs, and he stopped at every air museum he could find. On a vacation to Seattle, Glen saw a P-47 on display at the Boeing Museum of Flight. This is the same type of aircraft he had worked on in the military. Glen was explaining how to service the aircraft, and to demonstrate his point, he had both hands and one leg up on the aircraft and was in the process of climbing up before security arrived. He lived through great technological changes -- from horse and buggy days to his own involvement in the production of rockets.
Glen was the father of six children, four sons, and three daughters. He spent the last years of his life fully integrated into the life and family of his youngest daughter. He is survived by two sisters, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, five brothers, and a sister, and his son. He will be missed by his family and friends still here on earth.