Cover photo for Darrel Pittman's Obituary
Darrel Pittman Profile Photo
1935 Darrel 2023

Darrel Pittman

January 11, 1935 — June 17, 2023



Darrel Leland Pittman, 88, Bismarck, passed away on June 17, 2023.

Services will be held at 11:00 AM, Friday, July 21, at McCabe United Methodist Church, 1030 N 6th St, Bismarck.

A service livestream will be available for view at McCabe United Methodist Church's website: 

Burial service will be held at 3:00 PM, at the North Dakota Veteran’s Cemetery, Mandan.

Darrel was born in California, his parents separated when he was very young; he was their only child and both remarried.   His school year was spent in Mesa, Arizona living with his mother and stepfather; Fran and Archie Leavitt.  During his summer school breaks, he lived in Agnew, California with his father and stepmother; Wilbur and Mary Pittman and his brother, Keith.

Through-out his life Darrel treasured connections with his childhood friends including Bob (Lani) Jordan and then his support in adulthood especially from his first wife Beverly’s mother, Pat and recently to Anita and Mark for all the help they gave over the last few years.  And many others.

Darrel was so grateful that his parents, step parents, his mother's sisters and family members always supported his love of aviation. In high school he was in the Navy Reserve for 3 years. After graduation he joined the Air Force (airplanes!) and served for eight years; this is where he trained to be an air traffic controller (ATC).   He then went on to the Federal Aviation Administration for 30+ years. For four years he worked for SRSA teaching ATC, including classes at UND.

In 1983 Darrel and Marlette married in Bismarck and began their tour of the United States.  In1996, they moved back to Bismarck and he served as Manager at the Minot ATC Control Tower.  From 2006-2012 he worked for the North Dakota Civil Air Patrol; he was proud to be there to Emcee the inaugural Wreaths Across America at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery. 

Darrel was a member of the ND Pilots association, The ND Aviation Council and the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1008.  He also had a special group of friends with the Bismarck-Mandan Chapter 0195, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE).

He especially enjoyed his time with the EAA and helping start up the Aviation Museum at Buckstop Junction. For his 80th birthday present Marlette made a map of everywhere he had lived. In 2016 Darrel completed his autobiography, “Cleared for Takeoff! An Air Traffic Controller’s Life Story”.

Darrel is survived by his wife Marlette and her family; sisters Judy and Alice, brother in-law Dean; nieces Fern, Anita, Kendallena, Mary and Karen; nephews Rick and Kevin; by his brother Keith’s sons Ken and Alan and their families and the Yost family (his mother’s). 

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother; Keith, his first wife Beverly and two daughters Cindy and Kelly and Beverly’s mother, Pat; his beloved Aunts Thelma, Lois and Alice; Marlette’s family; Mother, Fern, and his brothers-in-law Wyatt and Lorin.

Darrel’s struggles over the last years with Alzheimer’s disease leave us to be comforted by our belief that when he is made whole his precious memories will be restored.

Now, he has his permanent wings …. Cleared for Takeoff!

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Darrel Pittman, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, July 21, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

McCabe United Methodist Church

1030 N 6th St, Bismarck, ND 58501

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Friday, July 21, 2023

3:00 - 3:30 pm (Central time)

North Dakota Veteran's Cemetery

, Mandan, ND 58554

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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