Monday, September 13, 2010

Iola "Nancy" Virginia Magruder, 44-7

"I took flight lessons at Stevens Airport in a rural hayfield
in Frederick County, Maryland"

Iola "Nancy" Virginia Magruder, 90, of Frostburg, died Monday, Sept. 6, 2010, at the Devlin Manor Nursing Home.

Born March 31, 1920, in Montgomery County, Maryland, Nancy was the daughter of  Joseph William Clay and Grace Virginia (Warfield) Clay. 
She  graduated from Damascus High School and Towson State College with a B.S. in Elementary Education.   She also received a Master's in Education from the University of Maryland.

Nancy took her first flying lessons in Frederick County, Maryland.  After reading about Jacqueline Cochran recruiting female pilots for her experimental Women's Flying Training Program, Nancy flew the required number of hours, applied and was accepted into WASP training.

Nancy and 97 other young women pilots, paid their own way to travel to Texas, raised their right hands, took the military 'oath,' and became members of class 44-W-7.  59 of these young women graduated on September 8, 1944, and received their silver WASP Wings.  After graduation, Nancy's Army Air Force orders sent her to Enid, Oklahoma, where she flew Bt-13's, BT-15's, AT-6's, PT-17's and managed to fly a few hours in a B-18.

After the WASP were deactivated, Nancy Joined the American Red Cross, trained as a staff assistant, and worked in USO canteen clubs.  She was stationed briefly at Annapolis and, after  physical exams and immunizations... went, via train cross-country and boarded a Victory Ship in San Francisco, California.  From that point, she traveled to Ascom City with the Armed Services Command, between Inchon and Seoul, Korea.

At the end of her tour with the Red Cross, she returned home on a Victory Ship, and traveled to New London, Connecticut, where she was hired as a pilot for a textile consultant.  Later, she returned to Montgomery County and to teaching.

She married Samuel Wade Magruder, and raised 2 daughters.  In 1977,  Nancy lost her husband.  She kept busy volunteering in a local senior center and wrote 4 books, including several childrens' books.

In the mid-1990s, Nancy moved to Frostburg to be near her eldest child and grandchildren. For the past four years, she resided at Devlin Manor Health Care Center in Cumberland.

On March 10, 2010, Nancy, along with all the WASP of World War II, was awarded the CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL, the highest award Congress can bestow on a civilian -- for their groundbreaking, pioneering, patriotic service during World War II.

Respectfully posted by Nancy Parrish
from Nancy Magruder's own words, p 443 "Out of the Blue and Into History" by WASP Betty Turner.


The following reposted from the Frederick News:

Mrs. Magruder is survived by her two daughters, Barbara Arnone of Frostburg, and Katharine Magruder of Frederick; two grandchildren, Katrina Opel and Lynn Hovatter, both of Frostburg; four great-grandchildren, Seth Arnone, Dylan Hunt, Rylee Hovatter and Chase Opel. She is also survived by her sister, Hilda Wells of Sparks, Md.  Nancy was also preceded in death by her husband Samuel Wade Magruder, and one sister, Ruby Purdum.

Mrs. Iola Friends were received  Thursday, Sept. 9, at the Molesworth-Williams, P.A., Funeral Home, 26401 Ridge Road, Damascus. Services were held Friday, Sept. 10, at the funeral home. The Rev. Joseph Pierce officiated.

Interment was held privately at the convenience of the family in St. Mary's Church Cemetery, Rockville, Md.

The family would like to thank all of the staff at Devlin Manor for the excellent care they provided.

The family requests the omission of flowers and that contributions be made to St. Paul's Catholic Church, 9250 Damascus Road, Damascus, Md., 20872 and/or St. Michael's Catholic Church, 1200 St. Michael's Road, Mount Airy, Md, 21771.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family at

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