Mahle was a Civil Air Patrol member from his teenage years until his death. He led a very active CAP squadron in Batesville and served as Indiana Wing commander from September 1972-January 1976. His dedication was recognized many times. He received the Distinguished Service Award in 1973 and the Grover Loening Award in 1976, but “what he treasured most was the friendship and respect of his cadets. They participated in many camps, conferences and several search and rescue missions.
“As a devoted member of St. Louis Parish, he advocated the benefits of a good education and the need for guiding our children. His deep belief in God gave him the strength to fight the esophageal cancer he was diagnosed with in 2008. For the four-and-a-half years after that, he filled his time enjoying and helping others. He died of acute myeloid leukemia Feb. 15. His smile remains with all who knew him,” his wife announced.
Mike Kruse, BMPL director, recalled Mahle and the late Al Giesting were the first two to approach him about the idea of starting an aviation section at the library. “At first, they just thought we’d want to just add some books to our nonfiction section. But it soon became apparent that this would be a sizable collection of somewhat specialized items, and they deserved their own section in the library.
“Al and Jim brought us boxes of aviation books and magazines. I spoke with them about Al’s experiences in the Second World War and about the men from this area who served with the 352nd Fighter Group in Europe. Our first military materials came from Al’s personal collection. While there are plenty of military aviation books here, there are also books on commercial and private aviation, of which Jim had additional interest and experience.