Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lelia Pearl Bragg Laska Chamberlain, 44-W-1T Nov. 22, 2012

Born Lelia Pearl Bragg on April 29, 1909 on Chestnut Mountain, Summers County, West Virginia, the former Fairbanks, Alaska resident took her last flight on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2012, at Richland Place nursing home in Nashville, Tenn. She was survived by her son, Nashville lawyer/college professor Lewis L. Laska. She was the last survivor of the eight children born at home to John W. And Lanie C. Bragg. She was a pioneer aviatrix and educator.

Pearl learned to fly in a Kinner Fleet bi-plane in 1933 and held a pilot’s certificate until she was 97. Prior to World War II, the federal government established the Civilian Flight Training Program, a back-door method to train pilots for military service. Because of its name, it had to allow participation of women and black men, both generally thought incapable of learning to fly in that era. Pearl was given the black students to instruct and each one she taught received his wings.

Pearl’s regular occupation was as a public school teacher from the age of 17 until her retirement in 1972. She was a W.A.S.P (Women Airforce Service Pilot) trainee during the war and was honorably discharged. She also served as a cryptologist at the Pentagon where she received the first message from Guadalcanal.

 In 1945, following her dream to be a full-time pilot, Pearl moved to Nome, Alaska and worked as a flight instructor and bush pilot. The next year she became the first woman to solo a single-engine airplane (a 1939 Piper J4) up the Alaska Highway. The FAA recognized her achievements as a pioneer Alaska aviator in 2006. Scorning the belief that Alaska Natives (Eskimos, etc.) were unable to learn flying, she taught many, including Holger Jorgensen, who became the first Native hired as a pilot by a scheduled air line.

In 1946, Pearl married Lewis Lincoln Laska, a merchant and fur dealer in McGrath, Alaska. Their son was born the next year. Lew, from a pioneer family, died four months later at the age of 50. Pearl continued to operate her husband’s store and parka factory for another four years. She returned to teaching in Homer, and then Fairbanks, Alaska. She continued to teach flying on the side. Her ground-based hobby was sewing fur parkas, kuspuks and dolls. After several decades of summer school work, Pearl received an undergraduate degree from the University of Alaska in 1955. She received a master’s degree from Miami University of Ohio in 1959 and her thesis was a history of civilian aviation in Alaska. A sabbatical leave spent at George Peabody College (now a part of Vanderbilt University), Nashville, in 1963-64 qualified her as the first special education teacher in Fairbanks.

The proud owner of a 1947 model Cessna 140 (and, later a Cessna 150), she flew these planes to the Lower 48 on numerous occasions. She flew several times in the All Women’s Transcontinental Air Race ("Powder Puff Derby"). In later life she married a fellow school teacher, Ed Chamberlain, and they lived in California until his death in 1987. Thereafter, she drove her pickup to Fairbanks where she lived on her own, until she came to Nashville in 2007 to live with her son.

Gracious and even-tempered, Pearl allowed no nonsense when it came to flying, but asserted that every hour spent in the air gave a person an extra day on earth.

A life member of the 99's (the association of women pilots), she did not follow the cult of Amelia Earhart (ten years her senior) whom she met but did not know personally. "She got lost," was Pearl’s final assessment of "AE" whom she recognized as an important pathfinder in women’s aviation. The wearing of slacks was Amelia’s greatest contribution to women, insisted Pearl, who said it was just as easy to fly in a skirt as well. Pearl insisted that Jacqueline Cochran, a few years older than she, and Jerri Cobb, much younger, were the best women pilots of the era.

In addition to her son, Pearl is survived by daughter-in-law, Nancy Laska and granddaughter Jennava Laska, of Los Angeles, Calif. Condolences may be sent to 901 Church St., Nashville, TN 37203. At Pearl’s request, no services will be held. Her family gratefully acknowledges the tender care offered by the staff of Richland Place and Alive Hospice. Special thanks go to Lorenda Patterson and Kathleen Harding for the personal care they offered Pearl in the last five years as she lived in an apartment at her son’s law office.

Her family asks that any donations in her memory be made to the Baptist church of one’s choice or the National W.A.S.P. Museum at P.O. Box 456, Sweetwater, Texas 79556.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mildred Inks Davidson Dalrymple, 44-W-4 Nov.

Millie Dalrymple.  
Mildred Inks Davidson Dalrymple, WASP  44-W-4

Millie was a WASP like no other, but that describes most of the WASP I know.  She was spunky, optimistic and determined.  If you asked her, she’d tell you right up front she was “bossy,” but for me, Millie was also a unique kind of cheerleader, and I will so miss her encouraging words. 

Millie took her final flight on Wednesday, sitting at a table in the dining room at Westminster Manor in Austin, Texas.  She was telling one of her famous stories.  She loved to tell stories.  I hope she would smile if I said to her “and most of them were true.”  Now that I really think about it, no, she would disagree; look directly into my eyes and say,   “ALL of them were true.”  I’d be the one smiling.

In all of her important works—contracts, articles, and honors, she was ‘Mildred,’ and in 2009, when she completed her self published autobiography,  she signed it,  quite properly, with ALL of her names: ‘Mildred Inks Davidson Dalrymple.’  However, she titled it simply:  “Millie’s Milestones.”

I first met Millie at one of the WASP conventions—I don’t remember how far back.  Millie was a classmate of my mom’s,   so, there was an instant friendship.

After that WASP Convention and several other events honoring the WASP, I began working on my Wings Across America project.  It didn’t take long to convince mom to join me, and when Millie  heard what we were up to, she was the first WASP to ask, “What can I do to help?”   Millie became our ‘test subject’.  She was our very first WASP interviewee.

We borrowed a camera from my old PBS station.  We also borrowed my friend, Joani, who was head of production.  Down to Austin we went, the three of us-- setting up equipment for the first time in Millie’s den.  We set up lights, microphones and a huge camera.  Millie wasn’t the least bit phased.

It was a delightful experience.  Millie was delightful. 

From then on, she was one of our best WASP Champions!  Mom and I are still both so grateful for her friendship and her steadfast and vocal support. 

Mildred Inks Davidson Dalrymple.    Indelible.  Unforgettable. 

If you visit the  "FlyGirl's WASP Exhibit," you'll see Millie's inspirational words etched on a panel that says “Passing it On.”  I include it now, because that is why she did the interview in the first place—to pass it on and to inspire others.

     “I was the absolutely minimum of everything that you could be to get into the WASP.    I thought I could, and I applied myself and I made it. I think anybody who really wants to do   something very bad, if they work at it, and they focus, and they concentrate, they can do it.”

                 Mildred Davidson Dalrymple, 44-4

God bless her family -- and all of us who were touched by this larger-than-life WASP.

Services for Mildred Inks Davidson Dalrymple will be

Tuesday, Nov. 20th, 10 am
Covenant Presbyterian Church
3003 Northland
Austin, Texas

Just in from the Austin American Statesman--

Millie Dalrymple Millie Dalrymple, a member of the "Greatest Generation" who served her country and her family in war and peace, is now at rest. Millie was born on February 14, 1920, to Roy Banford Inks and Myrtle Louise Moss. She died peacefully on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at the age of 92. 

At birth Mildred Banford Inks weighed only a few ounces over three pounds and was placed in an improvised incubator - a shoe box with a lamp. Her prospects for survival were slim. She not only survived, but went on to become a strong life force, impacting many people and achieving many goals, often as a pioneer. That she survived, and ultimately thrived, may in part be due to her parents' stock. 

Her father was Roy B. Inks, a business man in Texas who helped establish the Highland Lakes, one of which is named after him. Her mother, Myrtle Moss Inks, gave her some of the Moss family stock, pioneers of Texas with roots to the Battle of San Jacinto and a family ranch west of Llano. She grew up in Llano, Texas, where she enjoyed a good life learning, among other things, how to play tennis with an unorthodox serve and many improvised self-taught shots. However, the Great Depression, the early death of her father, and World War II changed things dramatically. 

She graduated from the University of Texas, took an editing job with the state legislature, and married a B-17 bomber pilot. After his plane was shot down and he was listed as missing in action in Europe, she applied to train to become a "WASP" (Women Airforce Service Pilots). She and other courageous women flew military airplanes stateside, putting in break-in hours, towing targets, transporting military people, and so on. Her log book showed many hours piloting our heaviest bombers - B-17's and B-24's. She had many adventures and close calls, but defied the odds again and made it through. 

In the meantime, her brother, Jim Moss Inks, was also shot down and missing in action. Her brother eventually returned home alive. Her husband did not. 

After the war Millie married Edwin Dalrymple, a friend from Llano who had been a Spitfire fighter pilot in the war. During their first 20 years of marriage they raised three children while Edwin was an FBI agent, first in Washington DC and later in Houston. They moved to Austin in 1967 and were married for 60 years before his death in 2006. 

Millie worked part time as a substitute teacher while the kids were growing up in Houston. In Austin, she worked full-time to help earn money and channel her energy. In those jobs, she again showed her pioneering spirit, including setting up and managing the first word processing center in Austin. She also took up tennis again, winning dozens of tournaments and eventually achieving a national ranking as a senior doubles player. 

Later in life, she became a sought after speaker, describing her adventures as a WASP. In 2010, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for her service as a WASP which she received in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC.

 Throughout her life she was known not only for taking charge and tackling problems head-on, but also for taking care of many family members and others. At one point when the family lived in Houston, she cared for a household that included her mother, her husband, her three children, and her brother's children Roy and Suzanne Inks. 

The last few years of her life, she became the one needing care, which she sometimes accepted with grace and sometimes fought with a rebellious streak. 

She will be missed. 

She is survived by her son Dennis Dalrymple and his wife Billie, daughter Gail Dalrymple and her husband Tom Richardson, and son Tom Dalrymple and his wife Elisa. In addition, her survivors include grandchildren Neil Dalrymple, Holly Dalrymple, Travis Dalrymple, Scott Richter, Tracy Eldridge, and Peter Richter, step-grandchildren David and Laura Richardson, and great-grand children - Austin Dalrymple, Reese Dalrymple, Katherine Eldridge, and Millie Eldridge. She is also survived by Gail Botello, her caretaker, who gave her unconditional love and care for the last few years of her life, for which the family is very grateful. 

Millie will lie in state Monday, November 19th from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, North Lamar. 

Memorial services will be held on Tuesday, November 20th at 10:00 am at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 3003 Northland Drive, Austin, Texas. A reception will follow at the church. A graveside service and burial will follow later that day at the City Cemetery in Llano, Texas. Those who wish to commemorate Millie's passing with a donation may contribute in her memory to either the Llano Library, 102 E. Haynie, Llano, TX 78643 or the National WASP WWII Museum, 210 Avenger Field Road, Sweetwater, TX 79556. 

Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at
Published in Austin American-Statesman on November 18, 2012

Barbara Manchester Robinson, 44-1 Nov 2, 2012

ROBINSON, Barbara Manchester, age 91, of Tullahoma, passed this life on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, at her residence after an extended illness.
Mrs. Robinson was born on Oct. 17, 1921, in Batavia, New York, to the late Ward Beecher Manchester II and Jennie Adele George Manchester. She graduated from Batavia High School in 1939 and from Russell Sage College of Women in 1943. While attending Russell Sage College, she was a Civil Air Patrol pilot by the age of 19. She completed her Commercial Pilot’s License in February 1942 with 200 hours of flight time. Her goal was to train male pilots for the war effort.
Barbara joined the Women AirForce Service Pilots (WASP) in August of 1943 after receiving an offer from Jackie Cochran. She graduated from WASP training in Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas, Class 44-1 and was assigned to the Army Air Force Weather Wing, flying a Twin Beech to 33 weather stations each month. Barbara was honorably discharged on Dec. 20, 1944, after flying about 1,000 hours. While serving in the armed forces, Mrs. Robinson received an American Campaign Medal and a World War II Victory Medal. She later received a Congressional Gold Medal for her service during World War II.
She married her husband William on May 23, 1945 and June 6. 1945. Barbara helped her husband of 67 years graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and joined him on various USAF assignments until his retirement in 1969.
Barbara was involved in many organizations. She was a member of the St. Barnabas Church choir for 37 years, a member of the Altar Guild for 32 years, having chaired it twice, a regular and board member of the Tullahoma Fine Arts Center, Daughters of the American Revolution member, Heirloom Quilters Guild member, AEDC Women’s Club member, and a Republican National Committee member. She sang in the Tullahoma Civic Choir and the Women’s Barber Shop group, “The Barbersharps.”

She was an artist who used many different mediums to depict the beauty she saw in the world. She painted portraits and landscapes in oils and acrylics. She used her sewing abilities to make clothing, embroidering, counted cross stitch, knitting, crocheting, needlepoint and quilting for which she received numerous awards. She also was an artist in lapidary and silver smithing, stained- glass work and ceramics. She enjoyed camping and bird watching as well.
A memorial service for Mrs. Robinson will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Tullahoma  with Rev. Michael Murphy officiating. For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Barnabas Building Fund, P.O. Box 446, Tullahoma, Tenn. 37388 and the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots Museum at Avenger Field, P.O. Box 456, Sweetwater, Texas 79556.
Mrs. Robinson was preceded in death by her parents, Ward Beecher Manchester II and Jennie Adele George Manchester; and two brothers, Ward Beecher Manchester III and John Alan Manchester. She is survived by her husband, Major William C. Robinson, USAF Ret.; five children, William Stephen Robinson (Sharon), Alan Ward Robinson (Sharon), Donna Robinson Sanders, Thomas Edward Robinson (Tracy), and Judith Robinson King; 15 grandchildren, Stephen Anthony Robinson (Christine), Karen Marie Baker (Cole), Kristen Terese Goodman (Mike), Richard Michael Robinson (Sloan), Anastasia Robinson Woo, Vanessa Robinson Woo, Yancie Abbott Sanders, Elizabeth Grace Carr, Cynthia Marie Robinson, Timothy Andrew Robinson, David Matthew King, Donavon William King, Lillian Judith King, Jeffrey Riffe (Cynthia), and Franklin Ray Sanders, Jr.; 12 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grand-children.

Kilgore Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
 v/r reposted from the  Nov. 13, 2012 edition of the Tullahoma News


The following respectfully written and posted by Nancy Parrish

In 2009, Barbara's husband, Bill, created a wonderful tribute to Barbara's service and to the WASP at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tullahoma His devotion to her and to shining a light on her service in WWII was heartwarming.   I had the honor to meet Bill and Barbie in 2010, as the WASP gathered in DC for the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony.  They were a wonderful pair-- and on this occasion, Bill was at her side, flying in the Wingman position. 

When Bill called to share the sad news of her passing, he added, "We didn't say goodbye,"  and then explained that "I'll Be Seeing You" was 'their song,' when they fell in love.  Do you know the words?  I'd like to share them ... because for Bill, their love story goes on-- as he said to Barbie in their last conversation, "Be seeing you." 

Chorus: "I'll Be Seeing You"
I'll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I'll be looking at the moon
But I'll be seeing you 
God bless Bill and the Robinson family-- and all of those who have been touched by this sweet WASP.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

WASP June Wolfe Leckie, 44-W-10,

June Swift Leckie (June Wolfe Leckie) WASP 44-10 died Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 90 in Palm City, Florida, where she had lived for 35 years.

The following written by her son, William Tendo Leckie.


After a brief illness, Mom died early this morning, peacefully in her sleep, beneath the Harvest Moon, one of the many songs she sang (over and over!) to us as children.

Born in Akron, Ohio, she was studying English literature and French at Ohio State University during World War II when she decided she wanted to learn to fly. After earning her wings, she applied and was accepted to a very elite group of women pilots, The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), and was among the first women to fly military aircraft for the United States. After graduating from training at Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas, on Dec. 7, 1944, June received Army Air Force orders to report to Perrin Field.  At Perrin, she was would have been assigned to fly Bt-13's, AT-6's and UC-78's.*    While at, June also became an instrument flight instructor for men returning from the front. "They were very young men with very old eyes."

First married to George Wolfe, she gave birth to my older brother, Drew, and soon hung up her scarf and goggles, and went to work in advertising and promotions at Lazarus Department store in Columbus, Ohio. Later divorced from George, "it was one of those war-time weddings," she reminisced fondly. "We loved each other, but it was never going to last," she became great friends with Roseann Leckie, guiding her through her wedding, and was thus introduced to my father, Bill. They were twin suns, Mom and Dad, and all five of us kids grew up amidst the often incomprehensible gravitational pull of two, very strong, unique people.

What a wonderful life we have all had, so very very rich. And to journey through to the end with both Dad and Mom is . . . a gift unmeasurable in its tenderness and in its mercy.

She has loved and been loved by so many, and by so many who have never known her but only that she was a woman who flew during the War. Along with us, they too elevate her to the status of hero. "But," she would laugh at the honorific, "I wasn't a hero. I was having a grand time, and doing what I loved to do." 

Not until the WASP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010 (the highest honor we bestow on civilians, for the women were not commissioned but flew as civilians) and she met the women who now fly for their country and could see in their eyes her own status as hero to them, that she began to comprehend what it is to be a hero. No one wakes up in the morning and sets out to be heroic, "you do what you have to do when you have to do it, and the rest is what history says about it."

"The happiest time of my life was raising my children in Bluefield, West Virginia." And at her request, her ashes will be scattered on East River Mountain, a mountain she looked out on every day, and from which she drew great strength and great comfort.

How wonderful is this life!

* respectfully posted by Wings Across America, with addition from the official WASP records and photo.

Joan Gough Frost, 44-W-8 Sept.3, 2012

Joan Gough FrostWomen Airforce Service Pilots, Class 44-W-8, took her final flight on Labor Day, September 3, 2012 in Glenmoore, PennsylvaniaJoan was a fabulously fun and loving mother, grandmother and beloved wife of the late John L. Frost.

Joan was born on October 1, 1924 in New York City; her family moved to Atlantic Beach, Long Island when she was five years old. Even at that early age, she was captivated by the concept of flight:
            “As I sat in the sand at the beach, I watched the seagulls, how they spread their    wings and rode the air currents, and their landings on the water… I started        thinking how wonderful it would be up there with them in the sky looking down on Mother Earth and feeling the freedom of flight.”
Joan was fifteen when she started to fly and after high school she went to Hofstra College to complete ground school requirements.  At the age of 18 she was accepted into 44-W-7 along with her friends Mimi Keir and Bonnie Dorsey.   Ironically, all three friends ended up in 44-W-8.   Upon graduation from Army Air Forces Flight training at Avenger Field, Joan was stationed at Goodfellow Field in San Angelo, Texas, where she flight tested and ferried airplanes. 

When the WASP disbanded, Joan continued to transport small airplanes that were being bought and sold after the war.  During that time, "My friend and flying buddy, Scotty Bradley, came home with me and never left.  She met my brother who had just come back from the Pacific and they were married.  That left me without my flying buddy.”

In the years that followed, Joan taught ballroom dancing at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio, and worked as an Account Executive at Rubin H Donnelly Company.  She married the love of her life, John L "Jack" Frost  and they raised their family in Pennsylvania., Joan continued  to be heavily involved with the WASPs during the 1970’s as they lobbyed Congress for recognition.  In addition, Joan worked tirelessly for a number of charities and and proudly received The Boy Scout Award from President Ronald Reagan.

Her three children survive Joan:  Lee-Ann, Stephen and Ginny.  Grandchildren: John, Daniel, Christopher and Michaela Frost, Meredith and Maddie Frost, and Jack, Carina and Brenna Corry.  Joan is also survived by her sister, Patricia Gough, and her sister-in-law, Scotty Gough, who resides in Maryland with daughters Connie and Joan Gough.  

The words of Barbara Shaw Jameson capture Joan's spirit:

Capture a sunset,
Ride with the wind
Taste Freedom
only the eagle has known

For yours is the freedom
of knowing
you have flown.


respectfully posted as written by Joan's daughter, Lee-Ann

Monday, August 13, 2012

Nanette Hazeltine Fuller, 44-W-6 August 9, 2012

He said, “Why don’t you fly?” And I said, “Girls can’t fly.” And he said, “Sure they can!” I said, “You’re kidding!”  “The very first lesson I ever had was the very first time I was in the air, and, oh, that was it!  From then on, forget anything  else.  I wanted to fly!  That’s what I did!”  WASP Nan Hazeltine, 44-W-6 

Pioneer, patriot, pilot, mother, and grandmother, Helen Nanette Hazeltine Fuller, a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, Class 44-W-6,  flew her final flight on 9 August 2012. 

Nan was born October 24, 1922 in Oakland, California to Irving and Harriet Hazeltine.  She grew up with a family legacy of pioneers and patriots.  Her grandfather was a US Marshall, and her grandmother, who had survived polio, overcame her disability and trained horses. Her dad  served as a Sergeant in an aero squadron in WWI.   

As Nan was growing up, she said that she proudly watched her dad, who was the Drum Major for the VFW,  march in every parade in Oakland. 

 After graduating from Westlake, Jr. High School, Nan entered University High, but she finished her last year and half of high school in Oshkosh,  Wisconsin, while staying with her aunt and uncle.

While helping her cousin  study for his CPT ground school test, Nan said her curiosity about navigation and  weather exceeded the answers in his textbooks, so  he questioned her:   

He said, “Why don’t you fly?” And I said, “Girls can’t fly.” And he said, “Sure they can!” I said, “You’re kidding!”    He encouraged her to take flying lessons, so she did.   

Nan eyes sparkled when she recalled about learning to fly:   “The very first lesson I ever had was the very first time I was in the air, and, oh, that was it!  From then on, forget anything
else.  I wanted to fly!  That’s what I did!”  

 After high school, she continued flying and worked with her uncle and grandfather in the family sign shop.

After America entered World War II, all civilian flying was moved Inland, away from the California coast line,  at which point Nan moved to Quincy, California so she could continue to fly.   She stayed with a farmer and his family and took a job with the National Forest ServiceAs the men in the Forest Service were drafted, her job description increased,  so she eventually became what she termed  a ‘Jack of all Trades.’

While Nan was working with the Forest Service,  a fire broke out nearby and the fire spotters in the fire towers couldn’t see it.   The Fire Control Chief asked her to take him up in her airplane to take a look.  Because there was no radio in the plane,  Nan flew close to treetop level, so the fire control boss could point the crews on the ground in the direction they needed to go.

From then on, she flew ‘spotter missions’ for the Forest Service.  To Nan’s knowledge,  she flew the first fire spotter missions ever flown in the United States.

In 1944,  she applied and was accepted into the Army Air Forces Pilot Training Program to learn to fly military aircraft so she could fly for her country as one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots.   She quit her job, paid her way to Texas, and entered training as a member of class 44-6.   Of the 136 young women pilots accepted into the class, only 72 successfully finished the seven months of training and graduated.    On August 4, 1944,  Nan received her silver WASP wings and her Army orders to report to Merced  Army Air Field in the San Joaquin Valley of California.

At Merced, she flew as an engineering test pilot of BT-13’s and AT-6’s (her favorite aircraft) until the WASP were disbanded on 20 December 1944.

Less than two months after the WASP were deactivated, Nan joined the Navy and  completed the  training to become a WAVE.   She was then assigned to the Naval Air Station,  Pensacola, Florida as a Control Tower Operator.  She was honorably discharged in June of 1946.

From Florida,   Nan  eventually made her way to Lockhaven, PA, where she picked up her  mother and a Piper Cub and flew them both back to Oakland.   She then started a free lance typesetting business.  

In 1950,  she married Kneeland Edward Fuller. Together, they started a successful lithography business.  During the next five years they added five wonderful children to their family.   

After the deaths of her father and brother, Nan retired in 1988. She packed up her mom , and with her pickup truck she pulled a 5th wheel travel trailer across the country for the next five years,  just enjoying the beautiful scenery of  America.   When her mother turned ninety, they found the perfect spot to settle down, ending up in the middle of the beautiful Hill Country in Ingram, Texas.

When Nan’s mother passed away at the age of 101, Nan stayed in Ingram, raising and caring for her menagerie of dogs.

In 2010, Nan and all five of her children were present at the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony in Washington, DC,   when the WASP were awarded  the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal for their pioneering, patriotic service during WWII.

In early 2012, Nan left the Texas Hill Country to return to her California roots to be near her children. She passed away on August 9, 2012 in El Cerrito, California. 

Nan is survived by her 5 children and their spouses: Lia deLand, Michael Fuller (and Elia Pani), Diane (and Don) Bryson, Kim (and Karla) Fuller, Brad Fuller (and Joanna Kiernan) and Clare Bell Fuller.  Grandchildren, Sean and David O'Neil; Sam Bell-Fuller; Alfredo, Sonia and Karla Pani; Richard and Michael Nyberg; Kim, Erin and Eric Cummins.  Nan was proceeded in death by her parents, brother Bill Hazeltine and sister Joan Morgan.


In 1999, Wings Across America had the honor of visiting Nan in her home in Ingram.   It took a little while to find it—off the paved highway, winding into the back roads, around the side of a hill, across a small stream – and there it was, nestled in the trees. 

When we pulled up to the porch, we were greeted by several friendly dogs. Nan came out, arms wide open to welcome us. My mom noticed one dog,  in particular, commenting to Nan on his cute, bold, white whiskers. Immediately, Nan grabbed him up and hopped in her car.  She was on her way to the town vet—her dog had gotten a little too close to a porcupine.   As she drove away, she  yelled to us to make ourselves at home.     We did.

When she returned, we spent several hours listening to this fascinating WASP.  We were both captivated by her stories of pioneering with the Forest Service,  and of her dad’s WWI experiences. The only regret we have is that she wouldn’t play her beautiful piano for us.  

In 2001, I edited together a few moments from some of our interviews.  I chose one clip of Nan’s  that just about summed her all up.  It was about why she applied to learn to fly military aircraft and serve her country:   “When Pearl Harbor hit, my dad flew out of the house so fast...he was the second man in line at the recruiting station.  and he was furious that he  was two years too old.   So it was up to me.”   She did it for her dad and for her country.

If ever there was a one-of-a-kind , it was Nan Hazeltine.  She told us she had Guardian Angels on both shoulders.   Indeed she did. 

As Nan would say:  “Bet you dollars to donuts” and  “Honest to Pete”,   I will never forget her.

Respectfully written and posted by Nancy Parrish
from Wings Across America's Digital Archive