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JOSEPH R. Forkner
Pioneer West Coast Aviator

Joseph R. Forkner was born in Mount Vernon, Illinois October 2, 1892. During his early years his parents moved to Seattle, Washington where he completed his education at the University of Washington. Musically inclined, he became interested in the cello then upon graduation from college he went to San Francisco to study music. While there he visited the Christofferson Aviation Company and flying school and became intrigued with flying. 
His interest continued and he soon signed for flying lessons. In his class were Helen Hodge, Jean Doty, George Butler and Joe Boquel, and their instructor was Frank Bryant. There Forkner learned to fly a Curtiss-type Christofferson-built pusher biplane. After completing the course Forkner flew his tests for pilot license and obtained F.A.I. Certificate No. 544, dated July 26, 1916.
He continued his practice and reportedly did some exhibition work, then in 1916 joined the Navy at Seattle, Washington and was sent to San Diego, California for boot camp training. From there he was sent to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a special course in aviation and was commissioned an Ensign. He was then assigned to the Naval Air Station at Key West, Florida where he remained through World War I.
Relieved from active duty after the war he returned to Seattle where he joined his father who operated Forkner's Funeral Home. There he stayed until 1939 when
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