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After the recent passing of Silmer Scheidel, his family contacted Sheriff Bell about finding other members of the PCSO Air Posse from the 1950's. We didn't know of any other members, but we found Silmer's story fascinating, and we wanted to share it.
Silmer died in September at the age of 90. He lived all 90 years of his life on the Scheidel family farm in Pleasant Grove. He got his pilot’s license in 1945 at the age of 18, and became a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) in 1948, remaining a member for 69 years. He was also a charter member of the California Flying Farmers and eventually a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Chapter 52.
In 1952 he graduated from Peace Officers Training at Placer Evening College - Auburn (pre-Sierra College) with the Placer County Defense and Disaster Council. He became a member of the Placer County Sheriff’s Air Posse and assisted in multiple searches.
According to Silmer's family, one of these searches was also one of his favorite stories. Two young girls had run away from home in western Placer County. The authorities searched without success and called upon Silmer, as part of the Air Posse, to lend a hand. He flew his airplane around the fields and up toward Phillips and Fiddyment Road. He saw a small sheep shack near Curry Creek, and had a hunch. He took the airplane in low to "buzz" the shed and out popped two heads. He circled around to where the sheriff vehicles were, cut his engine back and yelled out the window, "They're over here." It tickled him that the girls were so curious and easily found.
He also assisted in finding two escaped convicts from Folsom Prison. He received a nice letter from the warden for his help.
Sheriff Bell offered the services of our honor guard at Silmer's memorial service last week, and they presented a flag to Silmer's widow, Dot. Silmer and Dot had been married for 65 years. We were honored to be there and recognize Silmer for his service to this agency and his community.