Thursday, March 29, 2012

WASP Leona Golbinec Zimmer, 44-W-2 Feb. 22, 2012

ZIMMER Leona Golbinec  Zimmer passed away on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at Orchard Villa in Oregon, Ohio.

She was born on August 16, 1920, the fourth child of Anna and Joseph Golbinec. She graduated from Rossford High School and then from Bowling Green State University.

In 1942 she volunteered and served as a *Women Airforce Service Pilot, a cadre of 1,074 women who ferried aircraft, tested the planes that had been damaged and then rebuilt, and trained male pilots. Though they were not considered to be in the military at the time, the WASP were recently awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their service and contribution to the World War II effort.

After the WASP disbanded Le returned to Rossford and taught at Eagle Point School. Her teaching career took her to California, to Hawaii, and then to Venezuela. There she taught the children of families working for Texaco and met and married an engineer, William (Bill) Zimmer.

They lived in Venezuela and Argentina until 1966, when Bill died suddenly. She returned to Rossford and worked for the Lucas County Department of Vital Statistics until her retirement in the 1970s.

As a retiree she volunteered as a Precinct Worker on election days, at WGTE (Toledo's PBS station), and at the VA hospital. She was active in the American Legion and served as president of the Legion's auxiliary.

She enjoyed traveling to the biannual WASP conventions as well as to Australia, Japan, Europe, and to visit family and friends all over the United States.

Leona's brothers, Joseph and Albert Golbinec; predeceased her. She is survived by her sister, Margaret Golbinec Cameron; her sister-in-law, Barbara Golbinec (Al); nieces; nephews, and cousins. The cousins especially want to recognize and thank Lee Wagner (Leona's namesake) for all her care, efforts, and attention to our Auntie Le.

Auntie Le had no children but she touched the lives of each niece and nephew and those of the many children in her classrooms. Le was an adventuresome spirit and a classy lady.

Family and friends may visit at the Sujkowski Funeral Home of Rossford, 830 Lime City Rd. on Sunday, February 26, 2012, from 1 to 4 p.m. where a prayer service will be held at 2 p.m. with Rev. Kent Kaufman officiating. Interment will be private.

The family would like to thank the staffs at Perrysburg Commons and Orchard Villa for all of the care and kindness shown to Leona. The family suggests that memorials be made to Heartland Hospice, P.O. Box 10086, Toledo, Ohio 43699. To leave an online message to the family please visit:

Reposted from the Toledo Blade, Feb. 24 to Feb 26, 2012


WASP photo and the following text  respectfully added by Wings Across America

* Leona was a member of WASP class 44-W-2 and, like all 112 trainees in her class, paid her own way to enter the Army Air Forces flight training program at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas.  After seven months of flight training, she and 41 of her classmates graduated on March 13, 1944 and became WASP, Women Airforce Service Pilots.  

     Her official Army Air Force orders sent her to Napier Army Air Base in Dothan, Alabama, an advanced training base  for cadets.  At Napier, she would have flown At-6's as an engineering test pilot, making sure planes that had been 'red lined' were fit to fly.  She might also have ferried PT'17's and AT'6's and flown administrative missions.     She remained at Napier until the WASP were disbanded on December 20, 1944.  Like every woman pilot serving, she then paid her own way back home.

Leona's  participation as a WASP during World War II freed male pilots for combat duty and helped our country at a time when we were desperate for pilots.
      What a glorious legacy she leaves.

     Our thoughts and prayers are with her wonderful family and all of those whose lives she touched.

Nancy Parrish

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