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Former Air Force One chief lived with “passion”


West Liberty resident David Scheff, who served as flight chief of Air Force One under two U.S. presidents, died Friday. He was 51.

Scheff, a retired U.S. Air Force senior master sergeant, was born in Glen Cove, N.Y., and enlisted in the Air Force after high school. He served as the flight chief of Air Force One under both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush while stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

He was responsible for all of the maintenance for the presidential fleet and received several medals and awards throughout his military service.

“He was very smart, very intelligent,” said Gina Scheff, his wife of 23 years and a Springfield native. “He could do anything.”

After 24 years in the military, he retired in 2003 and later received a Master’s degree in business aviation. He worked at Booz-Allen-Hamilton as a senior aviation consultant for the past 10 years.

Scheff was also a board member of the Champaign Aviation Museum in Urbana. He was a contributor to several events at the museum, including a recent gathering of B-25s, said board member Andrea Tullis.

“Everything he did, he did it with such passion,” Tullis said. “Everybody should live their life like that.”

For the past five years, Scheff had cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of cancer. He is survived by his wife Gina Scheff; daughters, Christina and Catherine; and son and daughter-in-law, Dennis and Mellissa Siler; and two grandchildren.

A gathering of family and friends will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. today at the aviation museum, 1652 N. Main St. in Urbana. Services will be held there at 11 a.m. Wednesday. A burial with full military honors will follow at Fairview Cemetery in West Liberty.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Champaign Aviation Museum or Community Mercy Hospice in Springfield.


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