Obituary: Major Louis Christian Bicknese
Major Louis Christian Bicknese, USAF Retired, one of the “greatest generation.” Major Louis Christian Bicknese, USAF Retired, 96, formerly of Fort Salonga, Long Island, NY and Prospect Bay, Grasonville MD, passed away at home in Prescott AZ on December 6, 2019 after a brief illness. Maj Bicknese was born on October 18, 1923 to Frederick and Wilhelmina (“Minnie”; nee Limbach) and spent his childhood in Middle Village, Queens, NY. He attended Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood, Queens.
Maj Bicknese became enthralled with flight as a young man. During World War II, he enlisted as an aviation cadet in the US Army Air Corps and completed initial training at Norwich University.
He served with the 45th Bomb Squadron (40th Bombardment Group, 58th Bomb Wing, 20th Air Force) on the South Pacific Island of Tinian. His first mission was as co-pilot on the final mission of the B-29 bomber, the “Eddie Allen”, named for the pioneering Boeing test pilot. Maj Bicknese continued service in the Air Force Reserves and was called to active duty during the Korean War, once again, piloting B-29 aircraft. Maj Bicknese received the Air Medal during World War II and later officially retired from the Air Force Reserves.
After the war, Maj Bicknese graduated from Pace University. He continued his aviation career with Seaboard World Airlines, where he piloted the Lockheed Super Constellation on international routes.
He subsequently worked for the Federal Aviation Administration in the Flight Inspection Operations Group and was later responsible for Airman Certification for both domestic and international carriers. He held certifications as a multi-engine airline transport pilot for the Boeing 707, Boeing 720, and the Douglas DC-3 as well as a Flight Engineer rating in turbojet powered aircraft.
In retirement, Maj Bicknese was a member of the Flying Club at Dover Air Force Base in Dover DE, the Military Pilots Group in Prescott AZ, and the Prescott (AZ) Hanger of the Quiet Birdmen. He was a member of the Mount Holyoke Lodge, AF and AM, South Hadley MA for 67 years and the Officer’s Club at the Naval Academy in Annapolis MD. Maj Bicknese attended Trinity Lutheran Church in Middle Village, Queens NY, Abiding Presence Lutheran Church in Fort Salonga NY, and Living Water Lutheran Church in Stevensville MD.
Maj Bicknese married Helen Jane Brunner in 1949, who predeceased him in 2004. He was also predeceased by his two brothers, Frederick and Carl Bicknese. He is survived by two daughters, Dr Joanne Bicknese of Cream Ridge NJ, as well as Janet Bicknese and husband Dr Wayne Regina of Prescott AZ; two grandchildren, Carly and Sage Regina of Philadelphia PA; and a niece, Janice Weidemann of Las Vegas NV and nephew Scott Bicknese of Bath PA.
Maj Bicknese will receive military honors at a future date in 2020 at Arlington National Cemetery, where his earthly remains will be reunited with his wife, Helen. Memorial donations can be made to the 58th Bomb Wing Memorial at the New England Air Museum, Bradley International Airport. 36 Perimeter Rd, Windsor Locks, CT 06096 or online at NEAM.org.
Additional information can be provided by Hampton Funeral Home and Cremation in Prescott AZ.