During the July PTHC program on South Branch, Lane Taber talked about his memories of Timbers Sky Camp in South Branch.
“Pretty important place for me when I was growing up. My dad was working on the planes at the airport in the 1950’s. Timbers Sky Camp was built about 1945, after WWII. A lot of local people learned to fly there on the GI Bill. It was very busy the first eight years. Then everybody finished up with the GI Bill. The man who built the airport (Paul Schlenker) had a vision that aviation would be a big part of the country when all the veterans came back from the war because somebody had to learn to fly. So, he bought the property. I think his original idea was to sell property around the airport.
“It was always a place for people to come to on the weekends when I was growing up. My dad worked at the air force base in Oscoda for a lot of years and he knew all the pilots there. They would all congregate there around the airport on the weekends. That’s what I grew up experiencing, which was a lot of fun for me. Timbers (restaurant) was next door and the pilots would all go there and eat steak and drink beer and tell stories. So, it was a fun place.
“My earliest memories were following my dad around on the airplanes. I got hooked and I started flying as soon as I could. (He got his license when he was 16.) Then later, I went in the army. I flew in Vietnam and then I came back and transferred to the National Guard for 33 years.
(One lady in the audience said she remembered Lane’s dad flying in with skis on his airplane in the winter.) “Oh ya, I still have skis for it. We had a lot of fun. We would go to AuSable Lakes. We used to have beagles when I was growing up. We would put the dog in the backseat, and we would fly over there on skis to rabbit hunt. There was no way to get back in there in the swamps, no snowmobiles or anything. That was a lot of fun.
“Just to touch on my family, my great grandfather was one of the first people in the township in the late 1870’s about 1877. He was best friends with Charles Goodar who the township (in Ogemaw County) was named for. They had moved up here from St. Charles, Michigan. because Mr. Goodar wanted to start a mill. My grandfather followed him up here because there was land available. It was pretty cheap
after they cut all the timber off. So, the timber companies were selling the land. So that was how he ended up here. The Taber farm is still in the family. They had ten kids. My grandfather was the youngest of the ten. My great grandfather was Charles Taber. My grandfather was Glen and my dad was Lloyd Taber. My grandmother ended up running the post office in South Branch in the 1950’s and 60’s. Then later on my mother was the postmaster in the 1980’s. My great grandfather Charles donated the land where the school stands on Goodar Road. The Goodar Baptist church was built by the whole community and my grandparents had a lot to do with that. Their pictures still hang in the church.”
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