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Saturday, April 19, 2014
Neighbors
Parrish makes his mark on aviation history
By Guy Ferrara
Courtesy Guy Ferrara
Gabe Parrish, vice president of the Valley Stream Historical Society, has made significant contributions to the preservation of aviation history on Long Island.

Gabe Parrish is a long-time member of the Valley Stream Historical Society. At present, he is vice president of the society and a very hard-working, active and valuable member.

Gabe was born in the Bronx on May 9, 1921. He attended St. Gerard’s Elementary School in Hollis, Queens, then Jamaica High School and later the New York Mechanics Institute. In 1943, he took a foreman’s training course at Columbia Aircraft in Valley Stream.

During World War II, Gabe was a lead man at Columbia Aircraft Corporation where 330 Grumman “Ducks” were produced for the Navy. He also worked at B&H Aircraft in Long Island City. He later retired as a supervisor from Sperry in Great Neck after 38 years as a precision sheet metal worker.

He met his wife, May Schoppe, at Columbia Aircraft in Valley Stream. The two have been married for 68 years. He has long been interested in aviation, and has been dedicated to the promotion of aviation history here on Long Island, especially Valley Stream.

Gabe has been a volunteer at the Cradle of Aviation Museum where he worked on many various projects. He worked on the restoration of the 1928 sister ship of Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis,” installing instruments, controls, fuel valves and constructed and installed a periscope. He was instrumental in the complete construction of a Grumman Goose, a Grumman Mohawk and a Grumman E2C Hawkeye. He also helped restore a Republic F-105 Thunderchief, a Brewster Buffalo and a Commonwealth Aircraft Skyranger.

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