In ‘lasting tribute’ to beloved Airport leader, Hartsfield-Jackson dedicates Stogner Hill

Filed in News by on May 19, 2016

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) leaders on Thursday officially renamed Radar Hill as Stogner Hill in honor of the late James Stogner, the retired assistant general manager who devoted more than 40 years to the world’s most traveled airport.

Before Stogner’s family, including widow Pat Stogner, Aviation General Manager Miguel Southwell led the dedication of the memorial, calling it a “lasting tribute to someone who gave his soul to the Airport.”

“He really gave of himself,” Southwell told the small crowd gathered at the base of hill. Still, Southwell said, it’s “just a token” to the legacy of the once-beloved operations, safety and maintenance manager.

During the ceremony, airplanes roared down the runway in the distance. For Stogner’s oldest son, Shane, that sound was all too appropriate for the occasion.

“We listen to the planes go by, and we almost think it’s an interruption,” Shane Stogner said. “But there was no better sound to my father. The two chances I had to sit out here, in this spot with him, it was the calmest I ever saw him. He could sit here for hours. On behalf of my mother and my family, I can’t say how much this means to us.”

Just after 9:15 a.m., Airport leaders unveiled the memorial, a bronze plaque atop a slab of gray granite. Surrounded by flowers and with the air traffic control tower in the distance, the plaque noted Stogner’s “tireless devotion to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport serving as a manager, mentor and friend to countless men and women.”

Those words rang true to Department of Aviation employee Becky Robinson, who worked for Stogner for 28 years.

“He was the best boss in the world,” Robinson said. “He did things behind the scenes. Any personal problem you had, you could go to him. I once had car problems. He called maintenance to help me get my car started.”

Director of Operations Kim Wade said Stogner “loved the Airport,” so much so that he often worked from 7 a.m. until midnight or later, seven days a week.

And frequently, he hung out on the hill, parking his car on the site that overlooked the airfield. There, he would monitor plane traffic and listen to air traffic control, letting his employees handle crisis events “until he felt the need to jump in.”

“When he made decisions, it was always what was best for the Airport,” she said. “It was an honor to have known him.”

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport dedicated Stogner Hill on Thursday.

Just after 9:15 a.m. Thursday, Airport leaders unveiled the memorial, a bronze plaque atop a slab of gray granite. Photo by Shane Blatt

Family members attend Thursday's dedication of Stogner Hill, which honors the late James Stogner. Among Stogner's family are, from left, Pat Stogner, his wife of 46 years, and his son and daughter-in-law, Shane and Vivian Stogner.

Family members attend Thursday’s dedication of Stogner Hill, which honors the late James Stogner. Among those in attendance are Pat Stogner, his wife of 46 years, and his son and daughter-in-law, Shane and Vivian Stogner. Photo by Shane Blatt

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