The Billings Outpost

John Schafnitz

John Schafnitz, 90, a bank loan officer who trained pilots during World War II, died July 29, 2012.

He was born Dec. 1, 1921, to Frank Sr. and Susanna Schafnitz. He grew up in Billings and worked on the family farm. He later jumped on a rail car and headed for California, then hitchhiked back from Helena and began driving a soda pop delivery truck for Sunshine Beverage Co.

During World War II, he worked for Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, Calif. In 1942 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. In November 1943, he earned his wings and married Myrtle McCann. He was stationed in Kansas, Texas, and Florida, training pilots for overseas battle in single- and twin-engine aircraft, including the B-17.

After discharge from the Army Air Corps as a first lieutenant, Mr. and Mrs. Schafnitz moved back to Billings and he became a loan officer at Midland Bank. He retired after 37 years and traveled widely with his wife until her death in 1989.

For another 20 years he had a new traveling companion, Margaret “Marge” Scott, whom he met through his sister and sister-in-law.

Survivors include a sister, Catherine Jones; children, John Schafnitz and Jane Hughes; three grandchildren; three great-granddaughters; and Ms. Scott’s daughter and son, Bonnie and Jerry Scott.

Services were Aug. 6 at Dahl Funeral Chapel.

Mr. Schafnitz had been scheduled to fly on the next Big Sky Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., to visit the World War II Veterans Memorial. Those wishing to contribute so others may go may contact Big Sky Honor Flight, P.O. Box 80201, Billings, MT 59108, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Copyright 2012 Wild Raspberry Inc.

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