Friday, May 30, 2008

Bette "Pat" Pratt Stark, 43-W-8T

New Horizons - Pat Stark

Bette "Pat" Stark went on to New Horizons Sunday, May 18, 2008, at the age of 87.

Pat began her flying career in a CPT course taught at Bowling Green State University. After graduating in 1943 with a BA degree, Pat entered training* for the WASP program in Sweetwater, Texas. She flew PT-19s, BT-13s, BT-15s and AT6s.

After the war she moved on to Miami, Florida where she worked for Emery Riddle Flying School and National Airlines. After picking up her Commercial License in Florida, she moved on to New York and a job with American Airlines at La Guardia Airport.

She married Paul Stark in 1946 and settled in Adrian, Michigan for a few months-tearing down engines and replacing fabric on J-3s. She also picked up her Instructor's Rating in Toledo, Ohio.

Pat and Paul moved back to BGSU. Paul got a degree in coaching and Pat taught high school English. On weekends Pat took Paul flying, mostly aerobatics, which she loved.

They moved to the Cleveland area and for a time lived near the end of Runway 23 at Cuyahoga County Airport.

Pat was chairman of the Lake Erie Chapter from 1970-80, receiving the Achievement Award in 1979, Pilot of the Year in 1983 and an Amelia Earhart medal. She later changed chapters to All-Ohio and later to Women With Wings (both in Northeast Ohio).

Through her 70s, Pat taught flying-related classes with the Lake Erie Coast Guard. She was also a member of the Cleveland Chapter of the Air Force Association (AFA).

She is survived by her husband, John Paul (a resident at the Western Reserve Masonic Community in Medina, Ohio), her three children, Roger, Sandra and Bette, two grandchildren and two step-grandchildren. There was no memorial service.

Cris Takacs
Lake Erie Chapter 99s
International Women-s Air & Space Museum

*edited for accuracy

1 comment:

  1. I was lucky enough to meet this wonderful woman through women with wings. I attended a few of her talks about flying. She would arrive in her outfit, had her silver shoes, and wonderful smile. She would joke she never parachuted as she didnt see the sense in leaving a perfectly fine airplane. I reacently have read some wonderful books on the wasp. I was not aware of the history. She made an impact on lives then, and and impact when I meet her. She is spoken of often and always with great respect for the history she was part of. .... deborah o'malley