IRVINGTON—Alvin Hans Carstensen, 83, of Irvington peacefully passed away into the waiting arms of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Saturday, June 20, 2020. Al and his wife resided at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury for the last eight months.
Al was born July 15, 1936, in Albert Lea, Minn., the son of Hans and Agatha (Ohm) Carstensen. He was the first of five children and grew up in Owatonna, Minn., graduating from Owatonna High School in 1955. Al attended Hamline University and the University of Minnesota before joining the Air Force.
Al served on the first string of the Hamlin University debate team and was also active in dramatics. He won the Voice of Democracy contest at Owatonna High School then won the regional contest and took second place in the Minnesota state contest. He was a broadcast announcer for Sunday services over the radio station KRFO for St. John Lutheran Church in Owatonna. He enjoyed chess, reading, snow and water skiing, sail boating and many other sports. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Antique Airplane Association and Hq. USAF and Bolling Aero Club. He joined the Air Force in 1958 as an airman, flying cadet and was based at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.
Al’s vocation and avocation was flying. His father gave him an airplane ride when he was 3 years old and ever since his passion had been aviation. He obtained his private pilot’s license and worked as a crop spray pilot at the Owatonna airport and whatever flying opportunities were available in order to add hours to his flight log. He obtained the required education, pilot ratings and sufficient hours to apply with the major airlines. He was hired as a flight engineer with Eastern Airlines in Miami, Fla., in 1961 and was with them until Eastern Airlines ceased operations in 1991.
During his career at Eastern, Al held positions as second officer, co-pilot and captain. His professional flying included many of the major aircraft including the Boeing 747. He was manager of flying for the B-727 and DC-9, as well as a simulator and check airman, ultimately becoming chief pilot and director of operations for Eastern Airlines at National Airport in Washington, D.C. After the closing of Eastern Airlines, Al flew as captain for Value Jet Airlines out of Dulles Airport in Virginia until his retirement in 1996. Upon meeting new people, Al’s first question was “do you want to go flying?” He had many flying buddies.
After retirement, Al and his wife, Marie, moved to the Northern Neck. In his lifetime, he owned three airplanes and made many trips from Virginia to Minnesota to visit friends and family and to attend air shows in Florida and Wisconsin. He also kept his instructor rating current and enjoyed giving flying lessons to new students and doing check rides to keep existing pilots current with their license.
Al and Marie were married for 45 years. He has two daughters from a previous marriage. He is survived by his loving wife, Marie; daughters Sherry Bonner of Silver Springs, Md., and Kristine Carstensen of Charleston, S.C. He has four grandchildren, Thomas Carstensen, Maria Carstensen, Andrew Running and Elizabeth Running; and one great-grandchild, Stefan. He leaves his brother, Jerry Carstensen (wife, Mary); many nephews, nieces, cousins and host of friends in Owatonna, Northern Virginia and Germany.
Al was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Margaret Brase and Dorothy Caine; and brother, Robert Carstensen.
Al and Marie have been members of Light of Christ Anglican Church for many years and lovingly he leaves many sisters and brothers in Christ. Al was active as a choir member for several years as well as attending Bible studies in the area.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Light of Christ Anglican Church, Heathsville, VA. A memorial service and burial will be held at a later date to be announced.
Arrangements by Currie Funeral Home, Kilmarnock, VA. Family and friends may leave online condolences at curriefuneral.com.