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Gassaway Honored by Phillips 66

By Tom Richards

Owen Gassaway Jr.

Owen Gassaway Jr. has been a pilot for 56 years, a prime mover behind Lantana Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida. But perhaps most importantly, he has introduced tens of thousands of young people and young adults to the world of aviation.
That was a large part of what earned Gassaway the 2002 Phillips 66 Aviation Leadership Award, presented in ceremonies Tuesday at EAA Air Venture. The award pays special attention to volunteer work with young people.

Since 1973, Gassaway, owner of Florida Airmotive FBO at Lantana Airport, has introduced more than 40,000 young and old people to general aviation. He has been an active supporter of the EAA Young Eagles program. He bought a Cessna 172, which he had emblazoned with an eagle mural, to be used exclusively for this program.

Gassaway started a Boy Scouts Aviation Tour program in 1994, and in 1999 he established an Aviation Explorer Post as part of a Learning for Life program.

He also is credited with helping aviation-related businesses at Lantana Airport. Since the 1940s, Gassaway has transformed the airport from an under-used, under-developed airport into a general aviation hub serving the East Coast