were deeply saddened
to learn of Oscar
Cleal's passing last
week. What a wonderful
caring man he was.
that took away his
sight never dampeded
his spirit for a
present at our Hughes
and Christmas Parties,
Oscar always had
a kind word for
know his family
will miss him. This
in the Los Altos
"After spending four years flying with the US Navy in WWII, Oscar found himself
doing what he liked best, flying for Pacific Airlines, a small intrastate
airline on the west coast. On July 31, 1961, Captain Cleal, his DC3 and
passengers were on the ground at the Chico, CA airport when a gunman forced his
way in, attempted a hijacking and demanded to be flown to Arkansas. Before the
intruder was subdued, he had shot the station agent in the hip and shot Captain
Cleal in the head, blinding him forever. He was 42 at the time.
In the hope that this could not happen again, Captain
Cleal was one of the first to counsel congressional committees, law-enforcement
agencies, and the Airline Pilots Assn. with urgent recommendations for
bulletproofing cockpits, keeping cockpit doors locked and installing the doors
with peepholes; teaching the pilots judo and furnishing them with handcuffs to
restrain violent passengers - AND arming the pilots.
Before this first domestic skyjacking, Mr. Cleal had
been working on the airline's retirement committee and as soon as he was able he
studied economics, finance, and all facets of the securities business at Menlo
College, as well as from books transcribed by the Recordings for the Blind and
was able to pass the necessary examinations and went to work, as a registered
stockbroker specializing in retirement and pension plans. This second career was
successful and for almost forty years he was able to help many airline
Born in Buffalo, New York, Oscar has been a resident of
Los Altos for the past 25 years.
Surviving Mr. Cleal are his wife, Ann; two children,
son Lindsay and daughter Wendy from a previous marriage to Evelyn Brown. Also
surviving are two grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Private services were held."