Leo B. Kimball
Leo B. Kimball
World War I Combat Pilots Reunion
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, 1961
Oakland Reunion, 1968


     Leo B. Kimball continues to hold a valid pilot's license after 47 years of flying. He served with the 103rd Aero Pursuit Squadron, Lafayette Esquadrille during World War I and was commander of the Washington Squadron of CAP during World War II. He has served many manufacturing enterprises and is today Assistant Project Manager with the Lycoming Division of AVCO Manufacturing Co. In his early days he was research assistant and instructor at Yale University.
This from The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP
November, 1958 Number 60

Leo Kimball & Ted Iskenderian
     I am a protoge of Leo B. Kimball. I found your web page when searching for information on him because I will mention his role in my life to a gathering of the Vintage aeroplane Association on 3/19/2004. I see you have a dearth of photos of some people; perhaps this attached photo of Leo and me will be useful. I think it dates to about 1975.
     Leo took me under his wing when I was about 11 years old and helped me to build a go-kart in his machine shop, Park Machine Works in Pasadena. I did not appreciate the value of his contribution until long after his death, of course.      Leo let me take up about 50 square feet of his machine shop for much of a year. As far as I know, he never charged my family anything for this privilege except maybe $5 for a couple of ball bearings.
     He surprised me one day, saying "I'm going to make a Christian of you". I don't remember the context. I am a Christian today, though!
     He shared a love of fine music with my mother.
     He started to teach me engineering discipline very early in our relationship. I once came to him, asking him to make a simple part. He wisely insisted that I make a drawing of it first. I was shocked; I never heard of making drawings of parts before making them! I labored several days over a simple drawing, much more than necessary, wondering what kind of magical information is supposed to into a part drawing! But it was good exercise.
     Another way he encouraged me was, when I wandered into his machine shop one day, he was working with a customer. They were discussing a device they were building that sat partially assembled on a workbench. I asked, "is this a seismometer"? He answered yes, amazed that I could discern the machine's function. So he advised me to become an engineer, even recommending that I work on gas turbines! (I went into spacecraft instead). I am now 45 years old, a mechanical engineer at JPL largely because of his encouragement.
     Park Machine Works died with Leo, to my knowledge. I originally found it and Leo by searching in the yellow pages for a machine shop in Pasadena! As I recall, its original location was on Foothill Blvd in Pasadena, roughly 2900 East Foothill, next to the old Hoffman-La Roche Pharmaceutical building (now all gone). Later, around 1973, he moved the shop to around 800 East Washington Blvd, Pasadena.
     I remember some very old machines in there. I wish I had a picture of how I remember Leo: head down over a Logan lathe, cigar in place, smoke from the cutting fluid and the cigar mingling in the fluorescent light that hung above the machine. He always wore a dark jacket and tie, looking very serious most of the time (as in your other photos of him). I like to imagine his smile in the above photo is due to the satisfaction he felt from his appreciative student returning to say hello.
via email from Ted Iskenderian, 3-12-04 & 4-13-04

     If you search for "Leo B. Kimball", using the Google search engine, (3-13-04), you will find about 7 links. Perhaps the most helpful are the following.

     Capt. Leo B. Kimball is mentioned briefly in the story to be found in the Carroll County Times article for 7 June 1998 by Jay A. Graybeal. You can read the whole story by clicking on the title above.

     Leo is mentioned on the New England Air Museum website. You can visit that reference by clicking on the title above. You may want to use the "Find" function on "Kimball" to locate it on the page.
     If time permits, I heartily recommend that you visit the New England Air Museum website and read the comprehensive and fascinating story of Air Transportation and the Development of the Aviation Industry in Connecticut, a paper presented by Harvey Lippincott in 1977. You can visit that reference by clicking on:
Aviation Industry

     While you are there, I think you will enjoy a visit to the homepage of the museum at:
New England Air Museum


Leo B. Kimball died in 1977
From The Early Birds of Aviation Roster of Members, 1996

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