Eleanor McLernon "Mickey" Brown was a woman of many talents. She was a service pilot, model, quilter and political activist. Brown died Feb. 19, 2012.
To George Brown - she was Mom. Mickey Brown kept extensive notes from magazines, publications and travel logs during her life journey of 89 years.
The black-and-white text couldn't capture it all. Now, Eleanor Brown's second oldest child will miss the quality time.
"I'm going to miss her stories," George Brown said.
The mother of four was born Nov. 3, 1922, in Tampico, Mexico. Her family later moved to San Antonio.
The former Eleanor McLernon put herself through flight training. Her son said she had to have a license before entering the military. She joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots or WASP.
Also, the grandmother of four never paid attention to "barriers" and defied the odds. She was one of 1,074 to be accepted into the WASP program and who passed the training. Close to 25,000 women applied initially. The group of women flew aircraft during World War II.
George Brown said not everyone was receptive to women flying planes.
"Some people didn't think they could do it even though they could," he said.
The WASP group was disbanded in December 1944. Instead of scrambling to find a ride home from Florida, Mickey Brown flew to San Antonio.
Later, the aviation enthusiast became the first woman mechanic at Kelly Air Force Base.
At the University of Texas, Mickey met Robert Storey Brown. The two were happily married for 60 years.
George, their 56-year-old son, said the family explored the country for month-long trips in the summer.
Growing up, George Brown said his mother demonstrated to him that a woman could handle any task a man could.
More than a half a century later after her military service, Mickey Brown received a Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.
George Brown and other family members were by her side when she received the revered medal.
"The experience was thrilling and long overdue," he said.
Some of Mickey Brown's activities included volunteering at Christ's Kitchen and Habitat for Humanity.
She also served as a WASP representative in the Midwestern district. Brown worked with younger generations as a 4-H teacher and Cub Scouts Den Mother.
Mickey Brown's active lifestyle and love for flying never died. When she was 86 years old, she took her last flight in an AT-6 plane.
"It was like riding a bicycle. She never forgot," said George Brown.
Ernestine Kidder worked with Mickey Brown in Women's Circle group at First Presbyterian Church. Kidder described her former church member as an active, dependable and biblical woman.
"She was central to our church work," Kidder said.
Mickey Brown volunteered in the church kitchen and outside in the garden. Helping others was automatic for Brown. Kidder described Brown as an unsung hero.
"She is a legend that has passed and left her mark," Kidder said.
Originally published February 29, 2012
Camille Doty •
Respectfully reposted with edits for accuracy.
Nancy Parrish. Photo added: Wings Across America