Fayette County

If you’ve flown in or out of Blue Grass Airport, his dedication helped make it possible

George Gumbert
George Gumbert Photo submitted

Longtime Blue Grass Airport board chairman and retired surgeon Dr. George Gumbert, 90, died Friday.

Gumbert was an aviation enthusiast who fought for the expansion of the airport and helped found the Aviation Musuem of Kentucky.

Eric Frankl, executive director of Blue Grass Airport, said in a statement that Gumbert made “remarkable” contributions to the airport. He served on its board for 35 years, including 21 years as chairman, according to an obituary.

“He was instrumental in so many areas of the airport’s expansion in its formative years that not only benefited Blue Grass Airport but as a result allowed our region to grow and prosper,” Frankl said. “...He has touched the lives of so many in the aviation community and will always be in our hearts.”

The aviation museum, which opened in 1995, was an outgrowth of the Kentucky Aviation Roundtable, which Gumbert co-founded in 1978. He hoped the museum would help preserve aviation history and get future generations interested in flight. Through the years, more than 6,000 youngsters have participated in the museum’s aviation camps.

“He really believed in education,” said Jim McCormick, who is the current chairman of the museum’s board. “He was a leader that would get down in the trenches. He was a good person to follow.”

McCormick said Gumbert was responsible for helping form the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame, which is housed at the museum. Several years ago, Gumbert himself was inducted into it.

Though passionate about flying, Gumbert spent his career as an orthopedic surgeon.

Before the University of Kentucky’s Sports Medicine Department was created, he was the team physician for UK’s basketball and football teams for more than 20 years, according to his obituary.

A native of Richmond, Gumbert graduated from Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Louisville Medical School. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II.

He was married for 49 years to the late Eva “Skip” Gumbert, who also was a private pilot and was active in aviation organizations.

Their children are Mary Jo Moloney and George M. Gumbert III, both of Lexington.

Funeral arrangements are pending at Milward Funeral Directors.