Collett Everman Woolman

Collett EvermanWoolman (1889 - 1966)

Collett Everman (C.E.) Woolman was an aviation pioneer whose career spanned the history of flight from Jennys to jets. He attended the University of Illinois, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering. His real love was aviation which was returned by inspiration received when he attended the world's first aviation meet in Rheims, France in 1910. When the boll weevil threatened the South's cotton economy, Woolman, a district agent associated with the Extension Department of Louisiana State University, teamed up with Dr B.R. Coad to combat the pest, and crop dusting from the air was introduce Woolman headed Huff Daland Dusters, which began operation in Macon, Georgia in 1924, and moved to Monroe, Louisiana in 1925, with Woolman as vice president and general manager. During the non-productive winter months, operations shifted to Peru where seasons were reversed. There, Woolman realized a vision for passenger service creating a 1,500 mile route from Peru to Ecuador in 1927. He subsequently abandoned South America due to local revolutions. The company's dusting operations never stopped in the South and the Delta Air Service was named in 1928. Passenger service was inaugurated in June of 1929 between Dallas, Texas, and Jackson, Mississippi. Service was extended to Birmingham, Alabama, and then to Atlanta, Georgia. In 1941 headquarters moved from Monroe, Louisiana, to Atlanta. As his company grew, Woolman rose from vice president and general manager, to Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. Entered in Congressional Record, May 19, 1965, the Honorable John Bell Williams of Mississippi stated "Delta Air Lines is Woolman, and Woolman is Delta Air Lines". Frequently referred to as the "stern patriarch" and "gentle autocrat," he took deep personal interest in the people that worked for Delta and enjoyed universal affection, respect, and loyalty from his employees.

C. E. Woolman was enshrined November 7, 1992, an airman whose faith in aviation's future never flagged, and whose airline "Changed the entire economy of the South".