Lionel said his parents were "Phillip B Kay, and Hazel Madeline King (both dec'd)", but it is dubious whether Philip was actually his father, and in any case he was still alive, although Hazel d. 30 Jan 1919 in the post-WWI flu outbreak.
Ed. Salt Lake City High
Nick Dunning tells me that "Lionel was formally adopted in June 1919 following the death of his mother by Louis LaVell, who may well have been Hazel's partner. Louis was a professional riverboat gambler.
Lionel had apparently trained to be a doctor, but instead got the aviation bug and learnt to fly.
He was involved in the setting up of an aerodrome in Boise, Idaho, and was one of the pioneers of flying air mail, working for Varney Air Lines on the airmail route CAM-5.
In 1926-1927 Lionel was apparently one of the circa 300 aviators who took part in the spectacular flying sequences, shot in Texas, in the Hollywood blockbuster 'Wings' starring Clara Bow and featuring Gary Cooper.
Apparently Lionel flew in flying circuses and did barnstorming demonstrations etc. in the late 1920's.
Sadly Louis LaVell was the murdered in Elko, Nevada, in 1928. Lionel remained close to Louis's son Marvin, and his wife Marie."
In 1930, he is listed as an air mail pilot living in Boise, Idaho [Kay Air Transport]
In La Grande, Oregon in July 1934, there was a grand parade celebrating "Progress". And there, to take up passengers were "Bob King and Lionel Kay, of the Kay Air Transport Co. of Boise, Idaho, with a big seven-passenger Travelair monoplane."
"Kay has had six years with the United Air Lines" (strictly speaking, Varney Air Lines, which became part of United in 1930.) United was reorganised after the Air Mail Act of 1934, so perhaps this prompted Lionel to set up on his own.
m. Dec 1932 Marjorie [Moore, later Davidson] (1 son, Peter, b. 1933)
He then went to Peru in 1936 to fly for Compania de Aviacion Faucett. Here is his license:
with thanks to Nick Dunning
His second wife, Anita Peral Kay, was of 'Spanish extraction' (divorced 1943, daughter Jane Faire b. 1939 in Lima, Peru)
prev. exp. over 10,000 hrs
Address in 1940: 40 Main St, Randolf, NY
Permit to leave USA granted 6 Nov 1940
Postings: 1FPP, 4FPP, 8FPP, 14FPP
Convicted for drunk driving in Sep-41
3 accidents, 2 his fault:
- 22 Oct 1941, his Dominie nosed over due to "inefficient use of brakes while taxying";
- 4 Aug 1942, forced landing in a Fairchild after partial engine failure, and
- Off sick from 23 Jan 1943 to 16 Nov 1943, after he crashed in a Whitley VII after engine failure due to lack of of fuel. He was assessed as being to blame for the accident.
He allowed his contract to run down twice, but renewed it in Jan 1942 and Jun 1944.
Sailed to New York from Greenock in 1943, arriving 28th July, with fellow ATA pilots Virginia Farr, Ann Watson Wood, Grace Stevenson, John Yingst, Dorothy (Furey) Bragg and Mary (Zerbel) Hooper.
"A very experienced and reliable pilot. He has rather a blunt manner."
m. Jan 1944 Olga Mary 'Peggy' [Mills, b. 16 Feb 1923 Ilford, Essex] (twin daughters Marvine and Marie b. Feb 1945 in Idaho)
After ATA, sailed back to the USA with Olga on 24 Sep 1944, and then returned to Peru where Lionel worked for Faucett Airlines again until 1951, except for a visit they all made to Olga's father's house (1 Templars Ave, Golders Green, London NW11) in July1948.
Also flew for airlines in Pakistan and India
d. 5 Dec 1954 - died from a perforated ulcer on board the 'SS Steel Architect' when travelling from Calcutta to Wilmington, NC with Olga and his 3 daughters