Walter Hoster, 90, built custom homes by trade, but the building did not stop there.

He also built wooden boats and wooden airplanes, and designed elaborate features into his own homes. His current home in the Marmora section of Upper Township features an 18-by-36-foot swimming pool in the basement, with a cover that lifts electronically and doubles as a dance floor or volleyball court.

"I just wanted them, and that was the cheapest way to get them," Hoster said of the speedboats and amphibious airplanes he built in that basement. He also built a large ramp, as a vehicle exit.

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In addition, he played violin in area orchestras, including a year with the Ocean City Pops. While he retired from his contracting business in 1980, he gave up flying and building aircraft about a decade ago, and stopped playing in orchestras two years ago.

Hoster was recently honored as Member of the Year by the Ocean City Exchange Club for his 60 years of involvement with the service group. The exchange club raises money for children in need, provides scholarships for Ocean City High School students and runs events such as the Miss Ocean City Pageant and an annual Halloween parade.

Hoster learned to fly in the Army Air Corps on B-32 and B-24 bombers, but World War II ended just as his training was complete, he said. He and his wife, Pauline, who also became a pilot, flew their two- and four-seater, homebuilt amphibious planes along the East Coast, landing on the water for picnics on the Chesapeake Bay, off Nantucket Sound and in many other locations, Pauline Hoster said. They flew as far west as Oshkosh, Wis., where they regularly attended the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual fly-in in July. They are still active with the local EAA chapter and help with the Ocean City Airport Festival each September, she said.

Toy maker honored

David Vonner, 38, who grew up in Atlantic City and Pleasantville, and is now senior product developer for boys' toys at Hasbro, has just come through an incredibly busy year developing action figures for the release of the movies "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger." Now, he says he is "totally consumed" with work on toys for 2012's "The Avengers," which will bring together Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and Hulk, among other Marvel Comics characters.

Vonner was recently chosen as one of Providence (Rhode Island) Business News' 2011 40 Under Forty honorees. He will be feted during an event July 28 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. The publication chose the 40 Under Forty winners based on career success and community involvement, the publication said in a statement.

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