Billy Blake, CPCU

President
Insurance Agent, Commercial

Phone: (641) 673-8603

Billy started his insurance career immediately after graduating college. He worked for a large national insurance company, then a smaller regional carrier, before joining the independent agency channel in 2015. Billy and Margaret Ratcliff purchased the agency in 2019, becoming Ratcliff & Blake Insurance Professionals. What he loves most about his job is building relationships with clients and working with local businesses to help them identify exposures and implement risk management strategies. Billy is a self-proclaimed “Insurance nerd,” and loves the challenges of his industry.

Education:

Bachelor of Business Administration – University of Iowa

Licenses & Designations:

  • Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU)
  • Associate in General Insurance (AINS)
  • Insurance Producer: Property, Casualty, Life, Accident & Health
  • Iowa Young Agent of the Year – 2017

Community Involvement

  • Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa – Board Member, Technical Affairs Committee
  • William Penn University – Board of Advisors
  • Mahaska County YMCA – Board of Directors, Finance Committee
  • Rotary Club of Oskaloosa – Membership Chair
  • Young Agents of Iowa – Chair
  • St. John Lutheran Church – Member

Interests & Hobbies:

  • Golfing
  • Playing cards & boardgames
  • Reading
  • Running
  • Iowa Hawkeye Football

Most fun you’ve ever had:

“My wife and I serve in a variety of roles of youth ministry. Building relationships with teenagers, and teaching others what it means to be a follower of Jesus, is the best thing I’ve ever been a part of. “

Facebook Posts

Our hearts are with the Taylor family today. Bob was a great man, who lived a great life.It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of AAA founder, Robert L. Taylor, on June 20, 2020, 12 days short of his 96th birthday. Bob—as most of us knew him—had been in declining health. Despite this loss to the antique airplane community, it’s comforting to look back at the amazing life of our cherished friend.

Born on July 2, 1924 in Ottumwa, Iowa, Bob lived through the Great Depression and joined the USAAF during WWII. He served as a crew chief on P-38s and P-39s for the 24th Fighter Squadron, 6th Air Force in the Panama Canal Zone. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and assigned to a detached training unit.

Between wars, Bob earned his private pilot certificate and returned to his Iowa hometown to run the airport’s FBO. He also ran the FBOs at nearby Oskaloosa and Albia airports, as well as Antique Airfield in Blakesburg.

The name, “Blakesburg,” will long be associated with Bob’s vision to “Keep The Antiques Flying.” Imagine a visionary, who in 1953 saw the need to preserve the fast-disappearing airplanes of his youth, and using his own funds placed a 12-dollar ad in Flying magazine, announcing AAA’s creation. He received 12 replies at one dollar per, breaking even (a feat in aviation), and AAA was born. His investment and vision would prove invaluable. AAA’s first national fly-in was held in Ottumwa in 1954. Bob co-founded the Air Power Museum with J.G. “Jack” Lowe in 1965 and in 1970 established Antique Airfield, the nexus of the antiquer’s universe.

Bob kept his own antiques flying by restoring several airplanes over the years, including a 1936 Porterfield 35W, 1939 Porterfield CP-50, 1929 General Aristocrat, 1933 Lockheed Vega and a 1941 Interstate Cadet. The Cadet was the very airplane in which he had soloed in 1946 while earning his private pilot certificate, and—because antiquing is all about family—his grandson, Benjamin, soloed in it at age 16.

For his many contributions to Iowa aviation Bob was inducted into the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2007, his hometown added him to the Significant Ottumwa Aviators Roster (SOAR). The following year, the FAA honored him with its prestigious Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award, and the following year, Bob received the EAA Founders Award. In 2010 Robert L. Taylor was recognized by the National Aeronautics Association (NAA) as an Elder Statesman of Aviation. Additional awards and honors over the years are too numerous to list here but all well deserved. To say that we in the antique airplane community will miss him is to understate the immensity of our loss and the wealth of knowledge, friendship, and affection we’ve all gleaned from this wonderful friend.

Robert L. Taylor is preceded in death by wife Eleanor Lorraine (Swanson) in 2006.
He is survived by son Barry Taylor, son Brent Taylor (Marcy), daughter Holly Taylor of Ballwin, MO, granddaughter Nicole Helm (Rich) of Lake St. Louis, MO, granddaughter Dr. Whitney LeFevre (Nick) of Ft Worth, TX, granddaughter Taylor Beck of Indianapolis, IN & grandson Benjamin Taylor of Ottumwa, Iowa, great-grandchildren, John & Joseph Helm, Aidan LeFevre, and numerous nieces & nephews

(written by, and “Thanks” to Paul Berge)

Services are pending, and there will be a Celebration of Life gathering at a later date, likely around the 2020 AAA/APM Invitational Fly-in.

The family welcomes memorial donations to the Air Power Museum “Gone West” Memorial.
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Oskaloosa

124 S 1st St
Oskloosa, IA 52577

Pella

700 Main St #100
Pella, IA 50219

Melborne

202 Main St
Melborne, IA 50162

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