The Airport Authority renamed the entrance road into its Charles W. Baker General Aviation Airport – Arthur B. Hagler Drive – to honor the contributions of a West Tennessee aviation legend.
Art Hagler managed the Baker Airport for more than twenty-five years, founding Hagler Aero Service in the 1960s to provide aircraft fuel, tie-down, maintenance and flight instruction for general aviation aircraft operators. He was instrumental in developing the Baker Airport into a thriving aviation center.
After retiring from the Airport in 1988, Hagler continued to be active in aviation, flying his last solo flight at the age of 85 and his last flight as a co-pilot in 2011. He also continued to work as an FAA Airframe and Engine Inspector into his 80s. He was a member of the Shriners and was active in the Shriners Scottish Rite Burn Center, often flying patients in and out of the area for care. He was also instrumental in the formation of the original Memphis Belle (B-17F aircraft) Restoration Project.
Hagler died July 19, 2012, at the age of 90. His aviation career began in 1940 as a Naval Aviator, flying the Pacific in WWII. He was shot down twice, once rescued by a U.S. Submarine, and the second time was captured by the Japanese and spent 18 months as a POW. After the war he continued his Navy career serving in the VP (fixed wing patrol) squadron and then as a Senior Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic until his Navy retirement.
The renamed roadway is an enduring recognition of Art’s dedicated service both as the Airport operator and distinguished WWII Naval Aviator.