John A. (Jack) Boettner

Athletic Accomplishments

One of very few Ravenna athletes to have been named to an All-American football team in their college careers, Jack Boettner has been chosen for the Athletic Accomplishments category. However, his agility on the football field was only a prelude to his outstanding career in “lighter than air” craft. A 1912 graduate of Ravenna High School where he was an ace football player, he continued his athletic and academic career at Washington and Jefferson College where he was named an All-American football player. After his graduation from college in 1916, Boettner joined the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. and, because of his superior reflexes and athletic skill, he soon found himself in the experimental blimp division. During World War I, he trained blimp and dirigible pilots at Wingfoot Lake for the Army and Navy. In the 1930’s, Jack took training himself aboard the Graf Zeppelin and the ill-fated Hindenberg. In World War II this former football ace now turned flying ace piloted blimps on anti-submarine patrol and held the rank of Commander in the United States Navy. After the war he returned to Goodyear, later retiring after 35 years in the flying business. Jack Boettner was the first Captain of the Goodyear blimp fleet, holding pilot license no. 13. He logged over 12,000 hours in the air. As dean of America’s non-rigid airship pilots he handled the controls of every blimp built by Goodyear. This Ravenna All-American was an all American man who rose to the height of all heights.

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