IN MEMORIAM – 2018
Angela Anderson / Oakland Chapter
Magdalene Benedict / Manhattan Chapter
Elvira (Vira) Bernstein / Miami Chapter
Nancee Norwicki Crawford / Faro, Portugal Resident
Jan Siung Denton / Florida Treasure Coast Chapter
Anita Irene Hedvall Hildner / Portland Chapter
Bjorg Houston / Lake Tahoe Chapter
Elsa Klarenbeek / Manhattan Chapter
Jay Koren / Los Angeles Chapter
Inger Sorum Lafferty / Ft. Lauderdale Chapter
Christiane Magontier / Paris-Brussels Chapter
Ellen Joan Rilance-Prosser / Portland Chapter
Linda Dixon Sandweiss / Portland Resident
January 9, 2018
Magdalene Benedict (nee Schaefer) of Norwood passed away on January 9, 2018. Beloved wife of Michael. Devoted sister of Barbara Peters. Magdalene was a flight attendant for both Pan American World Airways and Delta Air Lines. She was a member of the Englewood Field Club.
ELVIRA “VIRA” BERNSTEIN
September 17, 1944 – January 18, 2018
Elvira “Vira” Bernstein , age 73, of Miami, FL passed away of natural causes in Jacksonville, FL January 18th. She was born in the Dominican Republic on September 17, 1944. Vira was happily married to Dr. Stuart Bernstein for 29 years and widowed recently for three years.
She had a long fulfilling career as a flight attendant with National Airlines, Pan Am Airways, and United Airlines. Her true passion in life was to serve others and make people happy. She enjoyed traveling with her husband and visiting family and friends. She also loved cooking and entertaining.
Vira is survived by her sister Victoria Phillips-Echelberger and husband Larry Echelberger, nice Cristina Echeverry and her husband Gus Echeverry, great-niece Silvia Echeverry, brother Marino Julio de la Rocha II, nephew Marino Julio de la Rocha III and nice Gina de la Rocha Goico.
NANCEE NORWICKI CRAWFORD
Faro, Portugal Resident
Former NAL, PAA, and DL flight attendant passed away recently in Faro, Portugal. She is survived by her husband, Sherman Crawford.
JAN SIUNG DENTON
Florida Treasure Coast Chapter
Former Pan Am flight attendant Jan Denton passed away recently in Roseland, Florida. She is survived by her husband, Robert Denton, and daughter.
ANITA IRENE HEDVALL HILDNER
October 16, 1942 – January 1, 2018
Anita died at Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital on January 1, 2018 of complications with pneumonia and COPD. She was 75.
Anita was born on October 16, 1942 in Malmö, Sweden to her parents Gösta & Ingeborg Hedvall. As a child, she enjoyed summers in Skåne with her siblings and grandparents. She was a nanny, tour guide in the Canary Islands, and worked at the Malmö airport before joining Pan Am as a flight attendant in 1968. She moved to Chicago and met Jono Hildner, whom she married in 1970 in Malmö. Together, they moved to Oregon in 1971, and in 1973 welcomed their first son, Jason Hedvall. In 1977 their second son, Benjamin Truxtun was born, and Anita retired from Pan Am to raise her boys. While she was a dedicated mother, she also fostered a passion for travel and exotic beadwork. This led her to begin working at The Eye of Ra, a shop specializing in clothing and jewelry from around the world at John’s Landing in Portland. She and Jono divorced in 1989. Her passion for travel and her work at the store helped her visit many countries. In her life, she traveled to Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Tahiti, Tonga, New Zealand, Fiji, Guam, Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea Thailand, Burma, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Turkey, Kenya, Uganda, Cote D’ Ivoire, Liberia, Western Sahara, Morocco, and nearly all of Western Europe.
Anita is survived by her sister Kerstin and brother Claes in Sweden and her son and daughter-in-law, Jason and Traci Hildner; her son and daughter-in-law, Ben Hildner and Tatiana Hernández de Hildner; and her two grandsons, Lucas and Martín Hildner Hernández.
February 10, 1940 – May 8, 2018
Lake Tahoe Chapter
Charles Robert “Bob” Houston peacefully departed us on May 5th, 2018. His wife of 49 years, 5 months and 4 days, Bjorg R. “BJ” Houston later joined him in heaven in the early morning hours of May 8th, 2018, with both of her sons by her side, everyone hand in hand.
Bob was born in Kenora, Ontario Canada on October 1st, 1934. Growing up an only child in a modest household during the Great Depression motivated him to yearn for more. Following graduation from Queens University, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force flying the F-86 Sabre in Marville, France. Later, he left the RCAF service and embarked on a 30-year career as a Captain with Trans World Airlines piloting the Boeing 707, 727, 747, 757, and 767 aircraft, as well as the Lockheed L-1011.
Bjorg was born in the small Norwegian town of Dokka on February 10th, 1940, as the eldest of three sisters. She recalled watching German Wehrmacht troops march down her street during World War II as she and her sisters grew up in the quaint town. Following graduation from university with a language degree in four languages, Bjorg was also yearning for adventure and travel in her life. She briefly toured Europe from the saddle of a Vespa scooter, and then pursued her dream of becoming a proud stewardess with Pan American Airlines in the early 1960’s aboard the Lockheed Constellation.
Now, enter fate with these two beautiful souls… With their shared love of travel and aviation (and a little help from double blind date gone awry) they were finally able to meet and inevitably begin sharing their beautiful lives together. After a few years of jet setting their long-distance relationship, they wed on December 2nd, 1968 and celebrated their first son within that following year. A handful of years on the east coast passed, and they eventually stumbled on what was (according to Bjorg) “the most beautiful place on planet earth” – Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
They settled down in the small town of Incline Village in 1972, and celebrated the arrival of their second son a little over a year later. They were soon enjoying the fruits of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Bjorg started ski instructing at Ski Incline (now, Diamond Peak) in 1974, teaching her boys how to ski before they could properly walk, and Bob would join them on the mountain when he returned from his airline trips. In the summer, Bob couldn’t be happier sailing his sailboat on the Tahoe water, while Bjorg would enjoy soaking up the sun at Incline beach. They both truly loved everything about the mountains, Lake Tahoe, and this most unique place to raise their loving family.
They selflessly devoted their lives to raising their two sons; Bob having to commute across the country, during every holiday and special occasion for his demanding airline job; Bjorg tackling the single most difficult job of stay-at-home mother, through every snowstorm, power outage, calls from the principal and sporting event her two sons were consistently involved in.
Their endearing love for their family is reciprocated today: Bob and Bjorg are survived by their sons, Bobby and Erik; Erik’s wife Tami, their grandchildren Brandon and Connor, and Bjorg’s sisters Lise and Jorunn.
Elsa was born in Suriname of Dutch parents. She was based in NYC since 1971, flying for Pan Am for twenty-one years and another twenty-one years with Delta. Elsa’s grace, style, generosity and sense of humor, both on and off the airplane, was an inspiration to all who knew and loved her.
A memorial service is planned for late June. For more information, please contact Elsa’s husband, former Pan Amer Joel Jacobs.
It is not expected, but you may contribute to Elsa’s favorite charity in lieu of flowers, Best Friends Animal Society, www.Bestfriends.org
June 18, 1930 – January 5, 2018
Los Angeles Chapter
It is with deep regret that we announce that our beloved friend, Jay Koren, died peacefully at home, January 5th, 2018, in Shadow Hills, California, with his spouse, Anher Flores, at his side.
Jay was born in Chicago on June 18, 1930 and lived in Park Ridge, Illinois. At 3 years old, Jay and his family moved to Beverly Hills, California, where he grew up.
Jay, as a child was fascinated by airliners. He ventured out to Burbank Airport to watch DC-3s take off and land, which in turn got him hooked on airlines, airplanes, and travel. At 12 years old, he saw his first Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) airplane and set his sights on working for the prestigious carrier.
Jay was hired as a steward for Pan Am in 1951 in Seattle, Washington. In his forty-year career, flying mostly out of the New York City airports, he worked on most Douglas and Boeing aircrafts from the DC4 to the Boeing 747. Jay wrote a book, The Company We Kept, Memories of a Pan Am Purser, which was published in 2000 detailing his relationships with his most noteworthy passengers and his fellow crew members.
Jay met Joe Kapel, a fellow steward, in 1954. They were life partners for over fifty years. They lived and had homes in Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, Connecticut and New York. Joe passed away in 2008. One year later, Jay met Anher, and they were married in 2017.
Jay’s career with Pan Am was a classic example of success. Because of his attractive bearing and demeanor, Pan Am chose him to be the model for the mannequin that resides at the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institute. Also, Pan Am selected him to work on both the first commercial 707 flight to Paris and the first 747 flight to London.
Jay’s recollections and stories were hilarious, tragic, sad, and poignant. He always had a lovely smile and well represented an airline that encircled the globe and left behind a huge legacy. Jay was a kind and generous person. He was loved by all who knew him. He was a towering figure at Pan Am and a pleasure to fly with. He was classy, handsome, erudite, and empathic to all. He will be greatly missed.
Rest in peace, dear friend.
INGER ANTIONETTE SORUM LAFFERTY
May 16, 1936 – March 10, 2018
Ft. Lauderdale Chapter
April 2, 1933 – February 6, 2018
Christiane A Magontier was born on April 2, 1933 and passed away on February 6, 2018 in Santa Clara, California.
ELLEN JOAN RILANCE-PROSSER
May 31, 1930 – April 22, 2018
Ellen Joan Rilance Prosser, age 87, was born May 31, 1930 in Portland to Edna and Arthur Rilance. She passed away Sunday, April 22, 2018 surrounded by family and friends.
Joan was a lifelong Oregonian who attended Washington High School, Oregon State and later received her B.S. degree from Portland State University. As a young woman, she became a flight attendant for Pan American Airlines, flying the South Pacific and the Orient, when flying was a luxury and her job was a prestigious assignment. She had many exciting experiences and stories during her short career which included meeting dignitaries and movie stars; preparing passengers for ditching the plane when two engines were lost over the Pacific; and being stranded on Guam during a hurricane and later on Fiji following an earthquake.
Joan met her husband, B. Douglas Pratt, on Wake Island, and they eventually returned to Portland, raising their three sons. As an active volunteer in the community, she worked with many organizations, serving on boards of the Infant Hearing Resource and the Oregon Symphony, as president of the Oregon Symphony Association and a volunteer radio reader for the blind on KBPS radio. She was also a charter member and president of the Portland Chapter of World Wings. After earning a private pilot’s license, she served on OMSI’s Aviation Committee. She was formerly a deacon at Moreland Presbyterian Church and more recently a long-time member of Beaverton Foursquare Church. Joan enjoyed a later career as a real estate broker and was a 50 year member of the Multnomah Athletic Club.
Joan will always be remembered fondly for her devotion to family, as a loyal, compassionate and caring friend, her deep devotion to God and unique sense of humor.
In 2002, she married Mike Prosser, and they spent many happy winters in the Desert. Survivors include her beloved husband, Mike; sons, Doug Pratt of Sherwood and Guy Pratt of Oregon City; brother, Bill Bowker of Milwaukie; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her son, Danny Pratt; sister, Carol Dixon; and brother, Harold Bowker.
LINDA DIXON SANDWEISS
March 21, 1947 – February 16, 2018
Portland, Oregon resident
Linda was born in Wellsville, NY, the first child of Edward J and Lois (Sandvig) Devlin. She is survived by her brother David Devlin of Albuquerque, NM, and stepdaughter Lissa Semuta of Las Vegas, NV.
Linda would want us to remember that she has a rich and full life. She laughed often, loved deeply and felt loss deeply. She had an adventuresome spirit, was a world traveler, and is now exploring whatever universe comes after life on earth.
Her ashes will be scattered along with those of her late husband Jack Sandweiss off the coast of Marina Del Ray in Los Angeles. The marina brought her so much joy and was one of her favorite places on earth.
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