IN MEMORIAM – 2019
Kay Diane Anderson / Minnetonka, MN Resident
Robert “Bob” Barton / Long Island Resident
Sarah “Sally” Holbrook Boggs / New Orleans Resident
Ruby June Wilhelm (Burcham) / Grass Valley, CA Resident
Frank Campion / Los Angeles Chapter (Honorary)
Lynn Carr- Steinmeyer / Miami Chapter
Kathleen Clair / Manhattan Chapter (Honorary)
Marian Cutcliffe / London Chapter
Marjorie Louise “Hoppi” Dankers / Grass Valley, CA Resident
Jane Euler / Oakland Chapter
Mary Lou Ruddy Karch / Annapolis Chapter
Valerie Lester / Boston Chapter
Catherine Mellquist / Manhattan Chapter
Mary Ann Mercier / Member at Large
Kerstin Parlander / Manhattan Chapter
Barbara Paul / Miami Chapter
Guido Potzinger / Long Island Chapter
Ellie Rennebaum / San Diego Chapter
Joan Rogerson / Seattle Chapter
Nobi Stienecker / Hawaii Chapter
Valerie Watson / Manhattan Chapter
Zelma “Zellie” Wemyss / Ft. Lauderdale Chapter
Bill Wright / San Francisco, CA Resident
KAY DIANE ANDERSON
August 11, 1943 – August 7, 2019
Minnetonka, MN Resident
Kay Diane Anderson passed away on August 7th after a 10-year fight with cancer. She was feisty to the end.
Preceded in death by her parents, H. F. and Marian Anderson, she is survived by Dale C. and Michaeleen Anderson, of Rogers, and life-long friend Deb Danielson, of Minneapolis. Kay was a Parkette, a Viqueen, and, in 1958, became one of the original cheerleaders for the Minneapolis Lakers basketball team—the Lakerettes. In 1968, she joined Pan Am and spent over 20 years as a flight attendant for the iconic airline. She loved cooking and long lunch parties and was devoted to pets. She ran the Happy Tails Pet Sitting service until recently.
Kay asked that, in lieu of a service, friends enjoy a glass of wine and listen to the Beatles. Thank yous are extended to the staff at Abbott Hospital, E4100, for their fine care. She requested that memorials be sent to Best Friends Animal Society, 5001 Angel Cyn Rd, Kanab, UT, 84741-0567.
ROBERT “BOB” BARTON
March 29, 1924 – March 4, 2019
Long Island, NY Resident
Bob died of pneumonia, just shy of his 95th birthday, days after celebrating his 65th wedding anniversary surrounded by his wife Shirley (PAA ’51-’54), 3 children, 2 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.
His career with Pan Am spanned four decades, from 1951 to 1989. His ability to speak several languages, and recall history and geography with textbook accuracy, led to his nickname ‘the Professor’.
Born in Eastern Europe, he was the only member of his family to survive World War II and he moved to New York in 1945. After a stint in the army and several odd jobs, including waitering in the Catskills and Miami, he landed a job with Pan Am.
Together with his wife and family, he enjoyed a long and extraordinary life of travel and international friendships.
SARAH “SALLY” HOLBROOK BOGGS
January 9, 2019
New Orleans Resident
Sarah “Sally” Holbrook Boggs, of New Orleans, died on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at East Jefferson General Hospital after a brief illness. She was 70 years of age.
She is survived by her beloved husband of 29 years, Philip H. Shiu; brother, Charles Boggs (Debbie); nieces, Margaret H. Boggs, Sarah R. Boggs (Peter Oblander), and Emily B. Walker (William); her remarkable aunt, Claire Morrison (age 103); and many loving cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, Archibald Raymond Boggs and Sally Holbrook Boggs; uncles, Hale Boggs, Fr. Robert Boggs, S.J., and William Boggs; and aunts, Mary Boggs and Marie Louise Spencer.
Sally graduated from The Academy of the Sacred Heart in 1966, attended Trinity College in Washington, D.C. and graduated from Tulane University in 1970. During her junior year, Sally studied abroad at the Sorbonne University in the Latin Quarter of Paris. She became fluent in French. Although Sally traveled extensively in the United States as a child with her parents and brother, it was in Paris that she developed her lifelong passion for seeing the world and experiencing many differing cultures.
After college, she joined Pan American World Airways as an international flight attendant, thus beginning her life of international travel to many continents and countries. She continued with Pan Am for twenty years. Sally resided in New York City with her husband Philip until recently when they moved back into her family home in New Orleans. She spent time with her family and the friends she knew since childhood. Complementing her adventurous spirit to explore the world, Sally remained a person deeply cherishing her roots, family and friends. Sally will be remembered for her loving, generous and compassionate life. A strong spirit, she saw the humor in everyday events. She held dear her family and friends.
To view and sign the guest book, visit www.lakelawnmetairie.com
RUBY JUNE WILHELM (BURCHAM)
June 15, 1929 – July 21, 2019
Resident of Grass Valley, CA
Ruby June (June) was born in the quicksilver mining town of Study Butte, Texas. She was the daughter of William David Fayette Burcham and Rubye Earl Richardson. Her family moved to the bigger town of Alpine, Texas before she started school. She was raised in Alpine until she left home to attend University of Austin, graduating in 1950.
After college, she worked as a stewardess for Pan American airlines from 1951 to 1957. She left Pan Am when she met and married James Watson Ervin in 1957 and settled into family life in Redwood City and, later, Sacramento, Ca.
While raising her two children, she worked as a probation officer for the County of Sacramento from the mid-1960s until 1986. In retirement, she moved to Grass Valley, CA. where she met and married her second husband William (Bill) Wilhelm in 1993. Ruby June and Bill enjoyed many years traveling the U.S. and playing guitars at bluegrass festivals and Airstream rallies.
June is survived by her son, James Burcham Ervin, daughter-in-law, Zoraida, and grandchildren, Jamie Lee Ervin and James Edward Ervin.
June 29, 2019
Los Angeles Chapter (Honorary)
Frank Campion will be remembered as the driving force behind the formation of World Wings International.
In 1957, a group of former Pan Am stewardesses arranged a get-together on Long Island. From that reunion, Frank foresaw the establishment of a worldwide organization. He encouraged them to consult an attorney to draw up the legal documents required for forming a non-profit corporation in the State of New York. In 1959 the corporation was established as World Wings International, Inc. with the approval of Pan Am’s V.P. Willis Lipscomb. The Long Island women became charter members of the organization and paid associated legal fees from their personal funds. Having planted the seed, Frank watched World Wings grow over the years, eventually spanning the globe with over thirty chapters. His legacy lives on today in the wonderful organization he helped create.
Frank is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jacquie Blanc Campion, co-founder of World Wings International, his daughter Suzanne, also a member of World Wings, his son Dr. Paul Campion, and three grandsons.
January 26, 2019
Manhattan Chapter (Honorary)
Kathleen M. Clair died peacefully on January 26, 2019, after 100 years of engaging life on her own terms.
Kathleen was the beloved daughter of Ted and Kit Clair and devoted older sister of Phyllis and Donald (all deceased) and a much-loved cousin to generations of the Churchville family.
Kathleen graduated from St. Cecilia’s High School in Englewood, NJ, in 1936 and from Katherine Gibbs School in 1937. She spent her twenties as a secretary in Manhattan before joining Pan Am in 1948, where she flourished for 32 years as the assistant to the founder, Juan Trippe.
Her Pan Am career gave Kathleen decades of opportunity to travel the world and make the acquaintance of some of the most important people of the day, including Charles Lindberg.
In retirement, Kathleen remained close to the Trippe family. She was a founding member and Director Emeritus of the Pan Am Historical Foundation and worked with Charlie and Ed Trippe to preserve Pan Am’s historic contributions to the history of flight.
She wintered in Florida, with her younger brother Donald and relished the time she spent with the close-knit veteran’s community near their home in Cocoa Beach. Kathleen loved living in New York City, and remained there until she could no longer cross 1st Avenue in a single traffic light. In 2012, she moved to a retirement community in South Kingstown, RI, to be near family. While she needed a little assistance now and then, she was nowhere near done wringing the most out of life. At 94 years old she met Phil Benoit, whose energy and good humor she loved.
Kathleen will be missed by her large extended family, the Trippe family, colleagues from Pan Am and the Pan Am Historical Foundation, and friends from her long and well-lived life.
April 22, 1941 – March 19, 2019
Jane Euler was born in Yonkers, New York, on April 22, 1941. She passed away on March 19, 2019, after a long illness.
Jane loved Pan Am! Although her father was a prominent captain with American Airlines, she treasured her experiences with The World’s Most Experienced Airline. Manhattan’s Pan Am Building was one of her favorite sights. She flew out of New York from 1963 to 1964, and one of her proudest memories was working a flight with the Beatles on board — their triumphant first trip to New York in February, 1964.
She was an active volunteer at the Aviation Museum in San Francisco, where her uniform has been displayed many times as part of the museum’s uniform collection. She also assisted in the planning of the China Clipper 75th Anniversary celebration on Treasure Island.
Supportive of all things Pan Am and devoted to World Wings, she attended every convention and encouraged others to maximize the value of the Oakland chapter. Jane led the Oakland Chapter for nineteen years. In addition to her chapter duties, she held offices on the World Wings International Board, as Recording Secretary, President, and afterward, President Emeritus.
Jane had a reputation of being unflappable — someone who would take on any challenge, dive in, and get the job done. She inspired all those around her.
Jane is survived by Phelps, her devoted husband of almost twenty-three years, her 105-year old mother, and her brother, and will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved her.
Per Jane’s request, a pot luck will be held in her honor on Monday, April 29th, from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. Please RSVP to Marilyn Kaplan.
Condolences may be sent to Phelps Euler, 1922 Rancho Verde Circle E, Danville CA 94526-6220.
MARY LOU RUDDY KARCH
December 10, 1936 – June 19, 2019
Mary Lou Ruddy-Karch passed away at the age of 82 on June 19, 2019 in Arlington VA. Born on December 10, 1936 in Binghamton, NY, she was the third of six children born to Emmeline M. Pryor and Patrick A. Ruddy. She was predeceased by her husband, whom she adored, BGen Frederick J. Karch USMC (Ret.) on May 23, 2009.
After spending her childhood growing up in Binghamton, Mary Lou attended The University of Miami studying economics and English literature. Soon after in 1959 she followed her passion for traveling and exploring her world and began her decades-long career as a flight attendant with Pan American Airlines. She also held various management positions in Miami with the airline including their International Flight Training School and Special Services Division which managed and directed distinguished VIP’s with their travel needs and concerns. She lived the life only few could dream of as she traveled the world over. She loved to share her stories of the places she had traveled to, the cultures she had experienced and the people she had met. She always spoke with such fondness for her fellow Pan Am flight attendants. She remained active in the Annapolis chapter of World Wings International, the philanthropic organization of former Pan Am flight attendants which focused their generous support to the International relief agency CARE and more recently, Doctors Without Borders.
She had a generous spirit, an infectious laugh and always enjoyed entertaining whether it be for her close friends or for large groups. She radiated charm, warmth and love to her family and friends. She had a charitable nature and was always willing to help those friends in need. Mary Lou’s nurturing attributes came from her own Mother, “Emmy” whom she was always very close to. She would cherish others in a respectful, non-judgmental way – attributes that Mary Lou held close and emulated her entire life.
Mary Lou had a long history of being involved with organizations that served her community. She had a love for journalism and a passion to advance the empowerment of women so that their voices may be heard. With this enthusiasm she was proud to be a member of the International Women’s Media Foundation, the National Press Club, Women of Washington and Capital Speakers. Her gregarious nature, intelligence and passion to help others led her to a successful Real Estate career that she was still actively involved in – even at the age of 82!
Mary Lou had deep faith and found comfort in her religion. This inspired her to serve in her role as a board member of Holy Family Ministries, a family of Catholic ministries founded by her cousin, Fr. Patrick Peyton. She worked tirelessly to advance Fr. Peyton’s mission through his Family Rosary Crusade and Family Theatre Productions which serves to strengthen families throughout the world through prayer. Mary Lou’s leadership and initiative in this role remained one of her fondest achievements in her life.
She is survived by her siblings, Patrick Ruddy, Elizabeth Ruddy, Joan DiMarzio and Joseph Ruddy, several nieces and nephews who cherished her, her step-children, John Frederick “Rick” Karch and his wife Jill of Villa Park, CA, Cynthia Acland and her husband Peter of Millwood, VA, grandchildren Bridget and Rebecca Acland. In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her brother, Michael Ruddy, her sister-in-law Jayne Brosnan-Ruddy and her step daughter Mary Kathleen “Kathy” Kingston of Haymarket, VA.
The family will be receiving friends at the Murphy Funeral Home of Arlington, 4510 Wilson Blvd. Arlington on Friday, July 26, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with a Mass of Christian Burial following at 2 p.m. at Our Lady Of Lourdes Catholic Church, 830 23rd St. South, Arlington, VA.
VALERIE BROWNE LESTER
July 30, 1939 – June 7, 2019
The children of Valerie (Browne) Lester, author of Fasten Your Seat Belts: History and Heroism in the Pan Am Cabin, announce with sadness, joy and pride, that Val took off for the great blue on June 7, 2019.
Writing that chronicle of Pan Am’s history, each chapter based on an account of a crew-member who had been there at a formative moment, brought Val into contact with not only with the individuals she contacted for the book, but also with the wider World Wings community. It was a very special period in her life. She always said that when she was going to see other World Wings members, she always made a bigger effort than usual to clean herself up!
Fasten Your Seat Belts was her first book, and paved the way for five more: Phiz: The Man Who Drew Dickens; Le Grand Meaulnes (a translation of the classic French novel); Giambattista Bodoni: His Life and His World; Marvels: The Life of Clarence Bicknell, Botanist, Archaeologist, Artist; and The West Indian, a historical novel set in 18th-century Jamaica. She is survived by her son and daughter, and five grandchildren, all of whom have Pan Am to thank for their existence, as Val met her husband, Jim, on a flight.
Valerie Browne Lester 7/30/39 – 6/7/19. Pan Am 1961 – 1963
MARY ANN ROBINSON MERCIER, Ph.D.
December 25, 1948 – June 14, 2019
Member at Large
Dr. Mary Ann Robinson Mercier, Ph.D., passed away on Friday, June 14, 2019, at the Hospice of the Piedmont in Charlottesville, Va., due to Alzheimer’s and kidney failure. Born on December 25, 1948, in Hornell, N.Y., she was the daughter of Mary Snyder and Jim Robinson.
She is survived by her husband of 46 years, Rick Mercier of Keswick; her brother, Frank H. Robinson of Montecito, Calif.; sister-in-law, Doreen Mercier of New Bedford, Mass.; and very good friends, Winifred and Robert Lipstreu of Belews Creek, N.C., and Dona and Mike Breen of Louisa, Va.
Mary Ann graduated from Hornell High School and then the State University of New York (SUNY), Oswego in 1969, with a degree in Russian; acquired a Masters at SUNY, Plattsburgh in 1977; and a Doctorate in Psychology specializing in Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania in 1983. She was associated with Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago, and Columbia University in NYC. In Chicago, she was a Docent at the Brookfield Zoo and a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association.
Mary Ann was a Pan American Airlines Stewardess, Purser and Recruiter from 1970-74, assigned at JFK Airport where she flew to Moscow through Copenhagen, and then Dulles Airport where she met Rick, a U.S. Customs Security Officer and Special Deputy U.S. Marshal (Sky Marshal) who was appointed a Treasury Department Special Agent. They lived in the Washington, D.C. area, Northern New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York City, and Ottawa Canada where Rick was Customs Attaché at the U.S. Embassy.
Mary Ann and Rick retired in 2005 and moved to Keswick, Virginia. As a child, Mary Ann was a model railroader and later with her husband, as well as an author and American Civil War Reenactor with the 2nd Michigan to understand the of life of a uniformed soldier. Mary Ann was a member of the Charlottesville Civil War Roundtable, the Fairfax Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Shadwell Chapter where she was Vice Regent and Chaplain.
Mary Ann Mercier will be interred in New Bedford, Massachusetts in a private ceremony. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of Central & Western Virginia, 355 Rio Road West, Suite 102, Charlottesville, VA 22901. The family thanks Dr. Warren Quillian of Pantops Family Medicine, and the Hospice of the Piedmont, www.hopva.org.
December 5, 1941 – July 7, 2019
Kerstin Parlander passed away at her home in Manhattan the week of July 7th. Family members will escort her remains to Östersund, Sweden, where she wished to be interred with her mother, sister and brother.
Kerstin’s family would like to thank her friends who have expressed their concerns these last years as well as those who visited her.
“In those days, things weren’t all automated; they gave you a hug and a kiss and said, ‘Just get the plane back safe,’ recalled Kerstin Parlander, a native of Sweden who began working for Pan Am in 1965. “You were on your own, and it was a huge adventure all the time.” ~~ from “When Flying was Caviar” by Corey Kilgannon, New York Times, October 19, 2003
March 30, 2019
Long Island Chapter
Guido Potzinger, a long-time member of the Long Island Chapter of World Wings, passed away on March 30th, in hospice and with his family by his side, after spending several weeks in the hospital fighting pneumonia.
Born in the United States, Guido grew up in Yugoslavia, speaking three languages (German, Yugoslavian, and Russian) and joined Pan American World Airways, completing his training as a Steward in 1954. He worked on the DC-4, DC-6, DC-7, B-377, B-707, and B-747. He was part of the first flight crew to complete Jet Training in 1958.
During his duties for Pan American World Airways, he met Vice President Nixon in Moscow, 1959, when he worked the Pan Am press charter flight accompanying the visit to Moscow. He met President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Hawaii in 1960, again by working the press charter. He was Employee of the Year 1972-1973 and earned his 35-year pin in 1989. He recently celebrated his 91st birthday. After Pan Am, he flew for Delta, retiring in 2006.
No services are planned.
Condolences can be sent to: The family of Guido Potzinger, 70 Pinelawn Road, Melville, NY 11747
Guido was loved by so many and will be sorely missed.
NOBI ROSE STIENECKER
August 31, 2019
Nobi was born in Lima, Peru where her father owned several businesses, including a banana plantation. As with many Japanese Americans, World War II abruptly changed their lives when Japanese Peruvians were deported to an internment camp in Crystal City, Texas, where they were interned for possible prisoner exchange. After the war and unable to return to Peru, where everything had been confiscated, her family eventually settled in Los Angeles. She attended schools in LA and began working after college.
While working, a Pan Am recruiter approached her to fly on Pan Am’s round-the-world flights. Unlike most of us, Nobi did not go through Pan Am’s rigorous interviews. Her only challenge was convincing her parents to allow her to be a stewardess and to permit her to relocate to Hawaii. In 1965, Nobi and June Yamanuha (from Hawaii) were assigned to the same training class in Miami. Although they were based in HNL, Nobi was certified in both Japanese and Spanish. She later transferred to SFO and LAX and flew as a Purser.
After clipping her wings, she got married and lived in Northern California and Seattle. Later, she moved to Moraga, California where she worked as assistant to the dean of liberal arts at St. Mary’s College. She retired in 2000, moved back to Honolulu and joined World Wings. She became Chapter Vice President in 2005 and was chairman of our first Garage Sale. She was also Chapter delegate to the 2005 WWI Convention in Paris.
In 2015, she moved into Arcadia, which she often said, was “The best decision I ever made.” Nobi loved opera and enjoyed reading and traveling. In May of this year, she joined friends from Arcadia, Kahala Nui, and Las Vegas on a 17-day Crystal Cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo and met relatives during a stop in Naha, Okinawa. In June, she was diagnosed with cancer.
She is now on her final trip home, flying on the wings of angels.
VALERIE S. WATSON
March 28, 1943 – May 16, 2019
Valerie S. Watson, 76, of New York, NY, former resident of Avon, CT passed away peacefully on Thursday May 16 2019.
Born March 28, 1943 in Reading, England she found at an early age her love of travel. This passion led her to her dream job at Pan American Airlines as a flight attendant. She lived her life only few could dream of, traveling around the world, with so many wonderful stories to tell. Needless to say she never wanted to retire and stayed with Pan Am and then on to Delta Airlines for almost 50 years. During her travels she met her late husband John “Jack” Watson while skiing at Lake Tahoe. Together they shared their love of travel and spent over 20 years together and raised two children.
Valerie is survived by her son Timothy C. Watson, 38, of Boulder, CO, daughter Laura J. Renehan, 36, of Farmington, CT and brother Andrew Dawson of Inverness, Scotland. A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00pm on Sunday June 2, 2019 at St. James Episcopal Church on 3 Mountain Rd, Farmington, CT. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to World Wings International c/o Liv Milan 4876 Waterbury Way, Granite Bay, CA 95746.
ZELMA “ZELLIE” ROBINSON WEMYSS
August 26, 1924 – April 20, 2019
Ft. Lauderdale Chapter
Zelma Robinson, known fondly as Zellie, was hired by Pan Am in 1946. She flew primarily to Caracas and down the eastern coast of South America to Buenos Aires — her favorite layover destination.
Zellie flew for two years, leaving the airline after meeting her husband-to-be Jim. They were married in 1949. She kept a special place in her heart for Pan Am and was a longtime member of the Ft. Lauderdale chapter of World-Wings.
Zellie is survived by her husband James C. Wemyss Jr., daughter Heather Petryk, and son James Wemyss III.
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