Decorated pilot to lead anniversary parade

Photo by Amy Cherry Odo Valentine, 102, is looking forward to acting as the grand marshal of the 175th anniversary parade on Saturday.  He is shown with one of his oil paintings.
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

Lifelong St. Marys resident and former barnstorming pilot Odo Valentine will lead Saturday's City of St. Marys 175th anniversary parade as the grand marshal.
On Dec. 21, Valentine will turn 103, shortly after the official anniversary date of the founding of St. Marys on Dec. 8.
"I didn't think I'd ever live this long," Valentine said.
During the parade, Valentine plans to wear a white hand-decorated jacket. In addition to sewing on black fabric accents and clear crystal stones, he also included an 1842 St. Marys patch which he removed from one of his favorite hats in order to commemorate the city's anniversary.
He is also contemplating carrying an Irish shillelagh or wooden walking stick passed down to him by his wife's great-grandfather.
Valentine is a decorated pilot trainer serving for six years during World War II in the Army Air Forces 56th Pilot Training Detachment. He began flying years before enlisting in the military.
At 102 years of age, Valentine maintains a witty sense of humor evident in the many stories he tells about his numerous piloting high jinks.
Perhaps the most notable is his 1939 stunt when he flew his Eagle biplane sideways through a portion of the Kinzua Viaduct Bridge while traveling at 110 miles per hour.