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Columbia Helicopters’ Founder Wes Lematta, passes.

Dec. 31, 2009 - Columbia Helicopters is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Columbia Helicopters' Founder and Chairman of the Board, Wes Lematta. Wes Lematta pioneered the concept of commericial heavy-lift helicopter operations, developing techniques and processes that are industry standards to this day.


December 31, 2009
By Vertical Magazine

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Dec. 31, 2009 – Columbia Helicopters is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Columbia Helicopters' Founder and Chairman of the Board, Wes Lematta. Wes Lematta pioneered the concept of commericial heavy-lift helicopter operations, developing techniques and processes that are industry standards to this day. He provided significant contributions to the helicopter industry as a whole, as well as within the state of Oregon. He also leaves behind significant philanthropic contributions throughout Oregon and Washington.

Wes Lematta began Columbia Helicopters in 1957 with a single, small helicopter with which he sold rides at county fairs and from corner lots on weekends. Throughout 52 years of business, his pioneering vision and innate business sense helped him to build his company to where, today, Columbia Helicopters is the world-leader in commercial heavy-lift helicopter operations. Initially, his company was run by he and his brothers, and currently employs over 600 people world-wide.

The Celebration of Life service for Columbia Helicopters' Founder and Chairman of the Board, Wes Lematta, will be held January 9th, 2010, at the Vancouver, Washington, Hilton Hotel. The address for the hotel is 301 W. 6th Street, Vancouver, Washington, 98660. The service will begin at 12:30 PM.

For those interested, the family suggests making donations to his memory to one of the following options:

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Parkinson's Research through Providence Portland Medical Foundation, 4805 NE Glisan St. Portland, OR 97213;

The “I Have A Dream” scholarship program at the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, 1053 Officers Row, Vancouver, Washington 98661;

Any other charity with which the donor chooses to honor Wes' memory.


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