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Fly High and Fast – Vol. II Chapter 29: Missouri – Kirksville

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JJ Meehan
The Meehan Family

Kirksville, Missouri is the home of Northeast Missouri State University and one of the nicest small towns in the USA.  In the fall the population of Kirksville increases by about 200% when the college students return to town.  I spent many nights in Kirksville and the surrounding area between 1980 and 1991.

When I first visited the First National Bank (FNB) of Kirksville, Ken Turner was President.  Ken is a true southern gentleman with a heart of gold.  We both love flying and life.  Ken and I became very good friends over the next few years and he gave me more than I have ever been able to repay.

Let’s start at the beginning.  I stopped into the bank one summer day to see if there was any interest in making a change in their data processing center.  At the time they were using a center out of Decatur, IL.  During the conversation, Ken and I started talking about flying.  He owned a V-35 Bonanza and we became instant friends.

FNB  would become one of our primer customers and would be the link that would bring in other banks in Missouri.

I was blessed with a Program Manager who had gone to school at the Northeastern State University and was able to show me all the best bars and restaurants.  Melinda Powers was a very out going gal who was very good at what she did.  Thanks to her effort the conversion at the FNB went very smoothly.  We enjoyed the college town atmosphere and the great bars and eating places of Kirksville and not only developed great friends in Kirksville but a very loyal customer.  Melinda would later married a gentlemen who would become President of another bank in Iowa.

Ken would leave FNB shortly after we started the conversion and became President of the Bank of Lancaster, Missouri which was just up the road from Kirksville.  The Bank of Lancaster also became a customer and Ken and developed a very close friendship.  In the years that we processed for the banks, Ken and I would make many flights back to Cedar Rapids, over to Kansas City and down to St. Louis to visit his Correspondent Banker with the hope of finding new leads to other banks in Missouri.  One of my favorite trips was to Oshkosh EAA Air Show which we covered in Chapter 18.  Ken was also a Past President of the Missouri Bankers Association.


On one of my many flights in July the temperatures were around 110 (F) 43 (C ) degrees and I had been visiting banks all over Missouri.  Ken and I were planning dinner on this specific night.  It was hot and I was in a hurry and for some reason did not check put my landing gear down.  I have developed the habit of always checking gear down on short final and on this day I almost did not check because again I was in a hurry and it was hot.  On the Baron and Bonanza’s the gear handle is in front of the right passenger seat (Co-Pilot seat).  In addition the Yoke comes out of the center firewall and you can not see the position of the gear handle without physical moving your head over and looking.  On this day I was shocked to see that the gear was still up and we were about 50 feet from touching down.  I quickly gave it full power and went around for a second approach and landing.  This time the gear was down.  The following is a very good view of the airport as you would turn final from a right base for runway 18..

Without a doubt this was another of my nine lives.  For those who have not been reading all my blogs, I have decided that God gave me nine lives (Cat Lives).  I have no doubt that I have used up all my lives and I’m current living on borrowed time.

Ken is now living in Joplin, Mo and we still stay in touch.  I owe him more than he will ever know.  In the next chapter I will talk about our trip to St. Louis, Kirksville, and Kansas City.

Please remember you can read more blogs on Flying by going to my WEB Site “Fly High and Fast”.


Written by jjmeehan13

April 19, 2010 at 11:50 am

Posted in Flying

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