If you are a passenger on a United Airlines flight this month you’ll want to immediately flip open the inflight magazine “Hemispheres” to page 14 to read about Winthrop resident Ed Stockard’s mom, Betty, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday. Held at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, Betty’s birthday party commemorated not just a century of life, but also a career as a United Airlines flight attendant in the 1940s.
In the early days of commercial flight, United hired mostly nurses into “stewardess” (as they were called in those days) positions. But during World War II, nurses were needed elsewhere in roles that actually involved nursing, so United needed to seek flight attendants elsewhere. Betty was raised in Montana and had never set foot in an airplane, but her interest was piqued by an ad in a local paper, and six weeks later she reported for flight attendant training in Chicago, along with 24 other young women from around the country.
Betty flew West Coast routes for four years and found the friendly skies to be her first true love. She saw new places, met celebrities like 1940s film star Clark Gable, and formed a friendship with frequent flyer and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. She found her second true love up in the air, in the form of a pilot named Ray Stockard, who became her husband and the father of her four children.
In those days, flight attendants were required to be single, so Betty joined a long line of women who were forced to sacrifice their careers for marriage and children. But she kept her love of adventure throughout her life, traveling extensively with her family, instilling a spirit of exploration in her children, and telling flight stories instead of traditional bedtime stories when her kids were young.
Several United Airlines employees attended Betty’s birthday celebration, as well as some former flight attendants. The United staff called Betty a trailblazer and pinned her with a set of silver flight attendants’ wings, 77 years after she was first pinned as an aviation pioneer.
Leave it to Carolyn Sullivan to make a $10 profit on a yard sale that wasn’t even hers! Carolyn went to Charlotte and Robert Nelson’s yard sale over the weekend, and as she was leaving with $10 worth of purchases, she noticed Chris and Kathy Pasley leaving empty-handed.
“You didn’t get anything?” she asked them.
“Well, we are only looking for patio furniture,” they answered.
“I have just the thing for you!” Carolyn told the Pasleys, who followed Carolyn to her house and promptly bought her patio table for $10. Chris handed Carolyn a $20, and as Carolyn was going into the house to get change, her eye fell upon the patio umbrella that went with the table, which the Pasleys took instead of change, leaving Carolyn $10 in the black after an afternoon of impulse buying and selling.