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

Sunday, September 12, 2010

WASP Ruth Clifford Hurbert, 44-8

WASP Ruth Clifford Hurbert, 93, found her final peace on Saturday, August 28, 2010.

Ruth Clifford was born March 25, 1917, in Lakeland, Florida.  After graduating from high school, while working as a student photographer, she took a ride in a small plane to take some aerial photographs and 'fell in love with flying’.

Ruth and her sister, Mary (WASP 43-4),  learned to fly at the same time as students of Walter Haldeman.  In 1942, Ruth joined the Civil Air Patrol, and, with over 450 hours of flying in her logbook, Ruth was accepted into WASP training as a member of Class 44-8.
 She later wrote in her scrapbook, "training was climaxed by graduation, where we received our beautiful silver wings and Santiago blue uniforms."

After graduation, Ruth was stationed at Cochran Field, Macon, Georgia, where she flew as an engineering test pilot for AT-6's and as a maintenance pilot for slow timing engines.

After the WASP were deactivated, she returned to Lakeland and became a flight instructor at Johnson Flying Service, Winter Haven, Florida. She later moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where she flew as a flight instructor at US Airlines.  While in St. Petersburg, she married Peter Hubert, one of the founders of US Airlines, and an Army Air Forces veteran pilot—Pacific Theatre.

In the mid 1940's Ruth was Chairman of the Florida Chapter of Ninety-Nines and helped stage the first "All Women Air Show”  in Tampa, Florida, March 1947.  Many WASP participated in the show and went on to fly in the First Transcontinental Air Race for Women (later named the Powder Puff Derby) from Palm Springs, California to Tampa, Florida.

She participated in other air shows and assisted Pete in the operation of US Air's flight school before retiring to raise their two children,  Clifford and Linda.

After loosing her husband, Pete, in 1963, Ruth became an active pilot in the CAP and remained active until the mid 1990's, earning the rank of Lt. Colonel.  She served as Commander of the Pinellas Senior Squadron for six years and worked in the emergency services flying activities as a mission pilot and observer, participating in many searches for missing aircraft.

Ruth flew as a part-time corporate pilot for a large development corporation from 1978 to 1983.  At 80, she was still flying and had logged over 2,300 hours. As she wrote in  2001,  "My aviation career has been long, interesting and very rewarding."


Respectfully posted by Nancy Parrish-- with thanks to WASP Betty Turner's, "Out of the Blue and Into History" and The St. Petersburg Times. 


Ruth is preceded in death by her husband,  Peter,  and leaves behind her son Clifford, daughter Linda, granddaughter Samantha Hubert, grandson Patrick Benson, Nancy Benson and great granddaughter Bridget Ruth Benson.

All are invited to join in a Celebration of Ruth’s life on Sept ll from 2-4 PM at the Hangar Restaurant at Albert Whitted Airport in Downtown St. Pete. Casual dress,  please.  In lieu of flowers,  please make a donation to the charity of your choice.

“Goodbye,  Ruthie.   Now,  with Pete at your side, ‘Off you go into the wild blue yonder.’ “