Joseph Oliver Tobul|
September 9, 1934 ... November 10, 2002
Joe Tobul, 68, of Santee, South Carolina, left this earth on Sunday, November 10, 2002, doing what he loved, flying his beautifully restored F4U Corsair.
Just one year after finishing work on Billy Tucci's independent film, "Some Trouble of a SeRRious Nature," Joe, along with his son Jim and his two grandsons, were piloting their four aircraft in formation from the Veterans Day Air Show in Columbia, Ohio, enroute to perform a fly-by over the Dorn VA Medical Center. Joe thought up this special tribute years ago for the disabled veterans who couldn't attend the air show.
"For him, it was an honor to fly it," said Jim Tobul, 45, "because it represented the heroes. This was his true passion."
As the aircraft flew overhead, witnesses reported seeing smoke trailing from the "Korean War Hero." Jim Tobul could see his father was having trouble and tried to help using his radio, but it was to late. Joe could actually have bailed out of the crippled fighter, but that would've left the six-ton wounded airplane to its own fate in a highly populated area.
Instead, Joe performed an incredible act of courage and piloting skill by staying with his beloved Corsair all the way to the ground, steering it away from people and houses. He crashed around 1:00pm in a swampy area in the Old Woodlands just 75 feet from the nearest home, where people were hosting a baby shower. The Corsair was a total loss.
Air show spokesman Ken Breivik remembered the former Marine Corps pilot this way; "He's a great American, great patriot, and we will miss him. ... When everything went wrong, he did it all right."
Director/Producer Billy Tucci, became close friends with Joe during the production of "Some Trouble of a SeRRious Nature," and remembers him as a generous, "straight-up guy." " Joe was one of the best people I ever knew and I am very proud to have called him my friend," said Billy, who has produced a special mini-documentary on Joe Tobul and dedicated the film to his memory.
Joe Tobul was CEO of Tobul Accumulator, Incorporated in Bamberg, SC, and an avid pilot who flew his Corsair in many air shows. Born in Painesville, Ohio, Joe is survived by wife Nancy, son Jim, his wife Beth and their sons, Jimmy and Sean.
The Tobul family has established the Joseph Oliver Tobul Memorial Fund/Celebrate Freedom Foundation in Joe's honor. For more information on Joe's life and the Fund please visit http://www.koreanwarhero.com/