Inspiring Flight Instructor & Columnist, Lynnwood “Woody” K. Minar

March 14, 1949 – July 3, 2019
Published in Midwest Flyer – October/November 2019 Issue

ST. CROIX FALLS, WIS. – Well-known flight instructor, designated pilot examiner, and writer, Lynnwood “Woody” K. Minar, 70, of St. Crox Falls, Wisconsin, passed away on July 3, 2019, from Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma, an aggressive rare cancer of the brain.

Woody had a zest for life and always had a positive outlook. Anyone who knew him, knew he had a great sense of humor that could not easily be forgotten. He also loved to tell stories about his adventures and experiences as a flight instructor – many of which were chronicled in his column “From The Right Seat,” published in Midwest Flyer Magazine.

Woody had a drive for being successful and a love for travel. In 1968, he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the U.S. Navy. For nine years, he served in Guam, Hawaii and Maine as a Cryptologic Technician in the Naval Security Group. He left the Navy with an honorable discharge in 1978. Soon after, he started working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) where his first post was in Georgetown, Guyana, South America, followed by Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa. He served more than 20 years in South and Central America, Africa, Europe and Western and Southern Russia.

Woody loved seeing the world and was fortunate to travel frequently for work, visiting many countries along his journey including Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany, Russia, Czech Republic, England, France, Libya, Egypt, Liberia, and Djibouti. His last post was in Croughton, England, where he and Connie lived for three years. He happily retired from the CIA in 1998 and was honored with the Career Intelligence Medal for his dedicated service.

After retiring, Woody and his wife, Connie, moved back to their hometown of St. Croix Falls. He enjoyed filling his free time with golfing, photography, amateur “ham” radio, flying, and hunting at the Canadian Club Hunting Camp where he was the designated camp scribe. Many days you could find Woody enjoying his morning coffee group or golfing with his buddies when he was not at the airport.

After a successful career, Woody did not stop there. He obtained his Private Pilot Certificate in July 2000, followed by his Commercial and Flight Instructor Certificates in March 2003. After years of training students and new pilots, the Minneapolis Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made him a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) in April 2012. His list of aviation credentials included CFI (ASEL & ASES), CFII, MEI (AMEL & AMES), CFI-G (Glider), Gold Seal CFI, AGI, and IGI. He was also an FAASTeam Representative. Woody was a six-time recipient of the Master Instructor Award by the National Association of Flight Instructors, and in 2009 and 2012, the Minneapolis FSDO recognized him as Flight Instructor of the Year, and the FAA Great Lakes Region recognized him as Flight Instructor of the Year in 2012. Additionally, Woody’s name is listed on the Wall of Honor at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Chantilly, Virginia.

Woody was the Chief Flight Instructor at Osceola AeroSport at Osceola Municipal Airport (KOEO) in Osceola, Wisconsin, and a flight instructor with Adventure Seaplanes in Lino Lakes, Minn. and Lake Wales, Fla. Several hundred friends and family members attended a celebration of life for Woody at KOEO on August 17, 2019.

Woody’s family meant the world to him. He is survived by his wife, Constance “Connie” (Norlander); daughters, Gayle Michelle Minar, Sterling, Va. and Karyn Kay Minar (Gary Jorgensen), Lino Lakes, Minn.; grandsons Dustin Lane Findlay, Altavista, Va., Jonathon “Cody” Findlay, and new granddaughter-in-law, Ciara (Swanson) Findlay, Cary, N.C., and his cat, “Curly.”

Woody was born as an only child to Karl and Bette (Janacek) Minar in St. Croix Falls, Wis. on March 14, 1949. He is preceded in death by his parents, many aunts and uncles, and his beloved dog “Lady” and cat “Bowser”.Memorials may be made in memory of Woody Minar to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, PO Box 64348, St. Paul, MN 55164-0348 (

Woody Minar’s many columns and articles are archived on the Midwest Flyer Magazine website: Simply type “Woody Minar” in the search box on the home page and all articles will be listed.

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