Everett "Ev" Cassagneres, 84, died Monday, July 2, at his home in Cheshire.
Born to Eugene and Alta (Bryan) Cassagneres on February 7, 1928, in New Haven. Ev is survived by his former wife of 39 years, Eline O. Nikkels, their two children, Bryan Ev Cassagneres with his wife Leslie, of Vancouver, Washington, and Kirsten Salvador with her husband Neville of Los Angeles, California.
He leaves five beloved grandchildren, Hannah and Bryce Cassagneres, Jonathan, Christopher and Zachary Salvador. Ev is also survived by his eldest daughter, Debbie Cassagneres, of Jeannette, Pennsylvania. He will be missed by his dear companion and dancing partner, Virginia "Ginger" Mountjoy of Avon, Connecticut.
After Hillhouse High School, Class of 1947, Ev launched a varied and colorful life as a racing cyclist and coach, design draftsman, licensed pilot, aerial photographer, Ryan aircraft and Lindbergh historian, genealogist, dancer in ballroom, Scottish, English country and contra dancing, bodhran player, classical and bluegrass music lover, photographer, model builder, and outdoor adventurer, enjoying hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, sailing, canoeing, swimming and rock climbing.
His career as an engineer/senior draftsman began in the aviation industry, moved into research, factory design and production. For many years with Westcott & Mapes Architects and Engineers in New Haven Ev was draftsman and chief corporate pilot. He worked on the first rockets for outer space with Johns-Hopkins University and on the design of the Heavy Ion Accelerator at Yale. He later established Aero-Draft, consulting for Yale in plant engineering, documenting the plumbing and HVAC systems throughout the university and medical campuses. Ev combined his loves of flying and photography to form Bluebird Aerial Photography, using his classic 1953 Cessna 170B, tail-wheel airplane.
Some of Ev's most notable accomplishments are:
- Seven-time CT state cycling champion; national undefeated 200-mile record holder.
- Author, researcher, and expert on Charles A. Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis airplane. Ev personally knew Lindbergh and his family. He wrote five books on Ryan airplanes, the last two comprising the complete history of the Spirit of St. Louis from its conception to its place in the Smithsonian.
- Piloted rare 1936 Ryan ST, the only survivor of five that were built, and became the pre-eminent authority on these classic airplanes. Ev flew more models of Ryan airplanes than any other pilot. As "Solo the Flying Clown" Ev flew in air shows in the northeast. His was the first flying clown comedy act at the world famous Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in New York. He flew several of Rhinebeck's early aircraft. For one summer, Ev was a wing-walker atop the wing of a 1941 Stearman PT-17 biplane.
- Served honorably in the U.S. Army's First Cavalry Division, infantry, on the front lines of the Korean conflict, and was awarded two Purple Hearts.
ARRANGEMENTS- A funeral service for Ev will be held Friday at 615 South Main Street at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in the State Veteran Cemetery, Bow Lane, Middletown.
Calling hours will be held Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home. Donations in his name may be made to New Haven Country Dancers, c/o George Thomson, 168 Ridge Road, North Haven CT 06473.
Editor's Note: The above obituary is courtesy of Alderson Funeral Home.