Monday, February 19, 2018

Marylyn E. Myers Holcomb Peyton, 44-5 | January 20, 2018

"I just put my money into flying lessons. Because I just felt in my heart that sooner or later they would have to rely on girls.  
...flying is just - you LOVE it, irregardless of what kind of an airplane you are in."

WASP Marylyn Peyton
Marylyn E. (Myers) Holcomb Peyton, passed away on January 20, 2018, a month short of her 94th birthday, in Sun City West, Arizona.

Marylyn was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on February 25, 1924, to Gaylord W. Myers and Mary B. Scoggins Myers.  She grew up in Lawrence, Kansas and then Des Moines, Iowa.  She left High School in order to work for United Airlines in Des Moines as a flight agent, and to take flying lessons in 1942, and became licensed as a pilot.  She was also a member of the Civil Air Patrol. 

Marylyn wanted to contribute to the war effort.  She heard of a group of women training to fly military aircraft to ferry planes and personnel, test planes, and pull gunnery targets, domestically - in order to free up male pilots for service overseas.  In December 1943 she began training in Sweetwater, Texas, with the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). 
Marylyn was among only 1,103 applicants (out of over 25,000 who applied) who were accepted and who passed the rigorous 7 months of training. She graduated with class 44-5 in June 1944 and served as a WASP test pilot stationed in Pecos, Texas.  Test pilots flew planes with reported defects to determine what needed to be fixed, and those that had been repaired, to check them out.  She had some amazing stories to tell.  She also was a flight instructor, and she ferried officers from base to base when needed.

The WASP were disbanded in December 1944, without having become officially veterans.  They finally received full veteran status in the late 1970’s.  Marylyn and her husband Bill helped to organize some WASP reunions, thereafter.  She provided a videotaped interview for the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project and for the official WASP archives, at Texas Women’s University, Denton, Texas, and supported the National WASP WWII Museum at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. 

On March 10, 2010, Congress presented the surviving WASP, and representatives of those deceased, with the Congressional Gold Medal. Marylyn’s family accompanied her and another former WASP to Washington D.C. to receive the Medal. The Medal is the highest non-military medal Congress presents. Other WWII recipients include the Tuskegee Airmen and Navajo Code Talkers.

While working as a WASP in Pecos, Marylyn met Charles F. Holcomb, an Army Air Corp pilot. They married in 1944 and had one child, Cathy, in 1945. After an early wartime divorce, Marylyn raised Cathy as a single mother primarily in Denver, Colorado. Being drawn to aviation again, she worked in meteorology at United Air Lines for several years in Denver. 

She married William J. Peyton, Jr. (Bill) in 1962 in Denver, Colorado. Marylyn and Bill were happily married for 40 years. They enjoyed retirement in Colorado and Arizona, loved to travel in their Winnebago, and delighted in dancing to Big Band and swing music. They were both tall, and their heads could be seen above the crowd. They especially enjoyed time in the Rocky Mountains, where Bill had been a seasonal Ranger.

Marylyn remembered the thrill of flying to the end.  She was always a sky-watcher and enjoyed identifying the clouds and watching the weather.   The masthead for the original WASP newsletter, The Avenger, fittingly stated: "We live in the wind and sand...and our eyes are on the stars."

Marylyn took her “final flight” on January 20, 2018, at Brookdale Sun City West Sandridge (Freedom Inn). She and her family were always grateful for the wonderful care provided to her by the staff at Freedom Inn.   

She was preceded in death in 2002 by her loving husband, Bill. She is survived by her brother, Dr. John Myers, her half-sister, Lois Salazar (Sal), and her half-brother, Jim Myers (Diane). She is also survived by her daughter, Cathy Holcomb Goodwin (Doug Curless), her granddaughter, Dr. Kim Goodwin (Aaron Brennan), and her two great-grandchildren, Olivia and Chase Brennan. She is also survived by her three stepchildren, Bill Peyton, Louise Peyton, and Vincent Peyton, and their children. 

A memorial service was held at Camino del Sol Funeral Home in Sun City West, Arizona.  An internment followed at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona.  Marylyn loved animals.  Therefore the family requests that in lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a donation in her name do so to their favorite animal rescue organization, or to Sun Cities 4 Paws Rescue, Inc.  PO Box 426, Youngtown, Arizona 85363.

Respectfully reposted from the family.

God bless all of those touched by this beautiful WASP.