Capt. William J. Maher

Capt. William J. Maher
Navy Pilot 1943

The Beginning

Bill was born in Jackson, Michigan November 23, 1919, and shortly afterwards moving to Detroit Michigan where he spent the first 13 years of his life. Returning to Jackson Michigan he graduated from Jackson High School and Jackson Jr. College, with an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts. 

In 1940, upon the Federal implementation of the Civilian Pilots Training (CPT) program, he completed his Primary Flight Training. In 1941 he completed his Secondary & Flight instructors rating at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. In 1942 he served as Flight Instructor in Jansville, Wisconsin for the U.S. Army Glider Pilot Training program. In 1943 Bill served as Flight Instructor at Purdue University training U.S. Navy Officers to become Naval Flight instructors. After program termination in late 1943 he enlisted as a Naval Aviation Cadet. 

In the fall of 1944 he resigned to join the China National Aviation Corporation.

Calcutta, India, July 14, 1945 (with CNAC wings).  Bill was riding a bus into Calcutta, when it hit him that he had a daughter. Two week later he got a letter telling him that his daughter Peggy was born at exactly the day and time he was riding the bus. 

China National Aviation Corp.

From 1944 thru 1946 Bill served with the China National Aviation Corp who pioneered the Hump Route over the Himalayan Mountains while supplying the AVG Flying Tigers, the 14th Air Force and the Chinese Army, a feat thought to be impossible.

In 1994, The U.S. Army Air Corp awarded Bill the Distinguish Flying Cross and Air Metal for his service in China.

Civilian Flying

1946 - 1955 While flying for the Zantop Airways introduced Zantop to Flying freight for the automotive industry ultimately becoming the major U.S. air carrier flying air freight for the automotive industry.

Bill's wife, MaryLee Harper Maher

Bill met MaryLee when she was 14. She came up to Jackson, Michigan from Paducah KY.  It was love at first site for Bill, but MaryLee didn't want anything to do with him. He had teased her about the way she talked. Being the persistent man he is, he pursued her for 10 years until she finally married him shortly before he left for China.  Bob Rengo was the Best Man

1955 - 1959 Started Air Package Corp flying a Twin Beech providing charter services for Consumers Power Company Executives and the Auto Industry.

1959 - 1985 Bill started as Corporate Pilot for Midway Supply Company, Michiganís largest oilfield and gas utility supplier. In 1962 he became Chief Executive Officer and in 1974 became President. During this period he flew both a Beech Baron and a Navajoe Chieftain.



After retiring in 1985 flying still continues to be a very important part of his life, flying a Beech Baron and a Twin Comanche, and a Pitts S2A on personal business. He is currently flying a Cessna T-210.

Bill has contributed immensely to his community, having served on many community Boards and committees and has done amazingly well as a fundraiser. He served as Co-Chairman of the YMCA Building Fund Drive raising over 2 million dollars, while serving on the YMCA Board of Directors.

Bill has also been instrumental in the development of a flight-training program at Jackson Community College. He also chaired the fund raising committee providing over a $100,000 for planes and equipment. Bill still continues to serve as the Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Aviation Flight Training program.

Bill has also served six years on the Jackson Community College Foundation Board, during which time he raised the funds to establish a student lounge on campus. During this period he also funded the William and MaryLee Maher Aviation scholarship.

In 1991 he received the "Distinguished Service Award" from Jackson Community College.

In addition to the above he has also served on the Jackson County Airport Advisory Board.

China National Aviation Corp Association

Bill has served as President of the China National Aviation Corp Association since 1980, a worldwide organization of pilots who flew for the China National Airlines, a joint venture between the Chinese Government and Pan-American Airways.

At age 81 Bill still continues to be a very active member of his community serving in many roles of leadership, and still flying.

Still Flying Acrobatic Planes After all these Years.