William E. Boeing -- 1881 to 1956

The airplane of tomorrow is christened

Boeing kept his promise to stay in touch with friends and colleagues at his old company. He returned to work as an advisor during World War II when the Boeing Airplane Company began to build warplanes, and the enterprises that had been split following the Depression joined forces to defend the country.

In 1942, Boeing donated his Highland Hills mansion to Children's Orthopedic Hospital and moved to the 500-acre Aldarra Farm near Fall City. The mansion was subsequently sold to raise funds for the hospital, and in 1988 was placed on both the National and Washington State Registers of Historic Places.

Boeing then added animal husbandry to his activities. At first, Boeing raised purebred Herefords on Aldarra, but later switched to Black Angus cattle and sheep. He is credited with having done much to improve the standards of registered beef stock throughout the Northwest. Aldarra became completely mechanized. During the 1950s Boeing built the state's only noncommercial grass dehydrating plant so the cattle had prime pasture all year round.

Boeing personally inspected every acre of his land, striding briskly and swinging a cane he did not need, and followed by a Pekingese named General Motors. When his health began to fail in 1954, he began to tour by jeep. On May 15, 1954, he and Bertha returned to The Boeing Company again for the Dash-80 rollout and the birth of the jet era. This time Bertha was able to use real champagne. "I christen thee the airplane of tomorrow, the Boeing Jet Stratoliner and Stratotanker," she proclaimed. She was right; this was the jet that would change the face of aviation worldwide. It would emerge as the 707, the first of the famous Boeing family of jetliners.

William E. Boeing died September 28, 1956, aboard the Taconite. He remained until the end an active and interested participant in the world around him. He did not have a formal funeral, and his family scattered his ashes into the sea off the coast of British Columbia where he had spent so many months aboard the Taconite.

On December 15, 1966, Bill Boeing was memorialized in the Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio, "for outstanding contributions to aviation by his successful organization of a network of airline routes and the production of vitally important military and commercial aircraft."

Bertha Boeing died on June 27, 1977, at home at the Aldarra Farm. In May 2001, half the estate was designated as the Aldarra Golf Course. The remainder of the land had been previously sold for residential development.