Darryl Greenamyer dies, had close connection to Mariposa

Darryl Greenamyer is shown in this photo from 1977.

Darryl Greenamyer is shown in this photo from 1977.

I have just became aware of the passing of Darryl George Greenamyer, aeronautical hero, with a local connection and known by a few of my age group.

Darryl was the son of George and Bette Greenamyer, and was the legendary holder of many speed records, especially at the Reno Air Races, which he won 11 times.

At the age of 82, he was still active in aviation, having been an officer in the Air Force Reserve as well as a test pilot for Lockheed Aviation.

His father, George, was one of the many Greenamyer brothers instrumental in the development of Idle Wheels Mobile Home Park in Mariposa as well as Mariposa Sand and Gravel. Before that, his grandfather, Charles, built the Mariposa County Airport as well as establishing, with Don Turner, the Gold Coin bar in Mariposa.

Father George and Darryl maintained a home in Idle Wheels, but were really established in Southern California .

He passed away in Indio on Oct. 4 of this year.

One of his greatest projects was the restoration of an Air Force B29 on the ice cap of Greenland. He and his crew were able to restore the plane to a flying condition and while taxiing under power, an electrical system in the tail of the World War II era bomber failed, causing a fire which destroyed the aircraft.

A PBS film, which I have seen several times, follows the path of the project. The name of the plane was the Kee Bird, and the loss of the project so close to success was hard for Darryl to appreciate. I saw him soon after the flight failure and understand how disappointed he was. But accidents are all part of experimental flight, as he said.

3 responses to “Darryl Greenamyer dies, had close connection to Mariposa”

  1. Ken Hawkins says:

    Thank you, Leroy, for another rich, historical narrative of which I knew nothing until your synopsis. A lot of videos and pictues on the internet regarding the B-29.

  2. bfreeman64@comcast.net says:

    Leroy………Thanks for your comments on Darryl Greenamyer. I had a few business dealings with Darryl and many dealings with his father George and his two uncles, Ed and Lucky. When I first started in Real Estate in Mariposa in 1970 everyone in town said, “You can’t deal with those Greenamyers …….
    they’re too ornery and tough”………..and yet I did hundreds of thousands of dollars in business with them and we never ever once signed anything. They would come into my office and explain everything they wanted and then we’d all stand up and shake hands and that was it……….I can only say they were the type of people the world could use more of………….the last time I saw Darryl was at this father’s funeral and I said a few words about what a great man his Dad was……….I visited Darryl at his home when he lived in Reno after the air races………he was a legend…………..he got an old wrecked Phantom
    F-4 Jet and scrounged parts to build something that would fly and then took his dad, George, with him to the Tonopah mud flats and flew it three passes over a measured mile at around 975 miles per hour BELOW 100 feet in altitude to set the world low level speed record………..and there are at least a couple of dozen other stories I could tell that would amaze people……..RIP Darryl…………..

    • Louis Cruse says:

      Correction – Darryl’s “built from scrap” Jet was a Lockheed F-104, not a F-4 Phantom. I was there.

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