Dennis Brown contacted Lady Skywriter last Thursday to introduce himself and tell me he had been doing research on the Northwest Airlines Martin 202 crash at Almelund MN for years. On the website he found my article about Northwest’s dark chapter with the Martin 202s during the 1950s. Dennis was planning a memorial observation of the crash on its 65th anniversary, today, Oct 13, 2015. He had heard that the son of one of the pilots of the aircraft had visited the crash site some years ago, but Dennis had not been able to identify the son nor find him. Mike Cagley is the son Dennis was looking for. His father, Ray Render, had been pilot examiner on the flight. I had interviewed Mike and his family for the article Dennis read. I also knew that Mike would very likely be attending the MSP Airline Collectible Show and Sale this past Saturday, Oct. 10. After inviting Dennis to attend I confirmed with Mike that he would, indeed, be there. Mike and his wife Martha and Dennis Brown met for the first time on Saturday and spent much time looking at each other’s vast collections of research. Dennis confirmed his plans to visit the crash site today to memorialize the crew members lost and invited Mike and his family to attend. Following is a note from Dennis with some photos of their meeting together today.
“We had a very blessed time and spent about an hour and a half at the crash site. Father Frank presented a most appropriate informal service, talking about St. Joseph Cupertino, the Patron Saint of Aviators and how those men on the plane looked upon the face of God 65 years ago today. After prayers of St. Joseph we concluded with the Lord’s Prayer.
A member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Clayton Rivard attended with his wife Mary. He made a small cross to mark the crash site and Martha Cagley, Mike’s wife, brought a spray of flowers. Brian Cagley, Mike & Martha’s son also attended.
Father Frank, of course, is the fellow in the red sweatshirt. The Rivards were teenagers at the time of the crash and visited the site.” Photos courtesy of Dennis Brown.