Floyd E. Bicknell, 95, of Hamilton, Mont., passed away peacefully Thursday, June 6, 2019, In Corvallis, Mont. Bic, as he was known, was a World War II veteran and, so appropriate, he passed on D Day.
Bic was born in 1924 in Indianapolis, Ind., the son of Stella Wall and Andrew Bicknell and one of five siblings. Bic, having been born during the Great Depression, lived of the era in foster homes split up from his siblings as his mother had no means of supporting them. He later attended Howe High School in Indiana, where he ran track and cross-country. Bic had early dreams of flying, and after graduating from high school he applied to the Army Air Corps. He was turned down three times for not weighing enough. After our country engaged in war, Bic made weight and began training in 1941. His first missions were flying U.S. bombers to the fronts of Europe and India. He was later stationed in India, flying bombers and cargo to China over the Himalayas as Japan had cut off supply lines to China. These missions were dangerously known as flying “the hump.” One thousand pilots and more than 650 planes were lost due to travel at 28,000 feet and heavy planes being flown through ice storms and unpredictable winds and weather. The majority of the pilots sent were newly trained.
Bic was honorably discharged in 1946 and headed west to San Francisco for a pilot job for a new airline that did not come through. Making his way back east, he was bartending in Wells, Nev., and met Ernie and Elsa Odermatt, who needed a truck driver to supply fuel to the region for Standard Oil. He did the work for board and room, which led him to Hailey, Idaho, when the Odermatts moved in 1954 to manage another distribution center.
Bic, from his time in Wells to Idaho, had a plane, and with his high-altitude experience flew as a bush pilot and was employed for private flight service in Nevada, California and the Western states and for a time in Alaska. He also had the background to repair and maintain private planes.
In 1993, Bic and Elsa Odermatt moved to Hamilton as Ernie had passed away and Bic became the caretaker and later caregiver for Elsa. After Elsa passed in 2005, Bic lived out his years in the log cabin before his family moved him and his dog, Zoie, to the Aaron Care Home, where he lived out his years.
Bic loved animals, kids and his visits to the local airports. He always saluted the American flag and wore his World War II veteran ball cap. He took great pride in those citizens and military personnel thanking him for his service.
There will be no services and Bic will be taken to Hailey, Idaho, to be buried. We wish to thank Aaron Care, Council of the Aging and Betty Potter, his personal caregiver, for the love and compassion they gave to Bic in Montana. If anyone wishes to send anything, please do so to the mentioned parties.
Bic is survived by his brother, Carl Keller; Carl’s children, Patricia Price and her husband Steve, and their sons, David and Casey, as well as Shannon Lambert and her daughter, Carlee, in Indiana; Buddy Wall and his wife living in Hailey, Idaho; and the Odermatts’ family members, Barbara Shaw and her children, Bill, Patricia and Peggy, and their families.
Condolences may be left for the family at dalyleachchapel.com.