Mary first learned to fly in 1944 in a Piper Cub, working nights in a factory to pay for flying lessons.  She had a long and varied career which included serving as a FAA Pilot Examiner, flight instructor, airport manager, and a variety of positions with the U.S. Forest Service.  She was also a licensed aircraft mechanic.  In 1964, Mary became one of the first four women to compete in the Reno Air Races.  At the age of 75, she was inducted into the Pioneer Aviation Hall of Fame.

Mary, her husband, Dave, and their 6 week old daughter moved to Susanville in 1949 to take over management of the Susanville Municipal airport.  Together, they operated the airport for 25 years until Mary was hired by the U.S. Forestry when Dave retired.  During their long residence in Lassen county, they purchased a 300 acre ranch near Janesville to which Mary retired many years later at age 65, and where she continued to live until 2008–nearly 20 years.

As Nevada, Mary’s younger daughter, put it: “Mom is now flying a shiny new airplane, visibility, 60 miles!”

Mary as a child (posed! I'm sure ... )

Mary's wedding photo - what a beauty!

Mary doing what she loved best ...

Susanville Municiple Airport in the old days ...

Mary with husband, Dave

Photo of Mary that appeared in the Smithsonian exhibit

Mary, relaxing at her home on the ranch

Mary with her first dog, Radar, at the ranch

1996: Mary with first great-grand son, Logan, in her arms, her son, Gary, and Molly in the back

Mary with Nevada and her dog Beau at the ranch

Mary with her good friend, Evan Chappuis at the awards banquet when she was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame

Mary and Molly on moving day, her 8 ft propeller strapped to the top of our SUV


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