Mary Higgins Clark / Bergen County, NJ Resident
Kathleen Cook Gray / Reno Chapter
Kayla Lynn McMahan / Canyon, TX Resident
Melanie Bradshaw Woolfenden / Paris-Brussels Chapter
May 23, 1941 – March 25, 2020
San Antonio, TX Resident
Joan Grozier Allen died on March 25th in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband Jerry, son Craig, and daughter Crystal at her side.
Joan was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts, and graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in English Language and Literature. She then was a flight attendant for Pan American World Airways, flying to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. After three years with Pan Am, she took a job teaching high school English in Woburn, Massachusetts. In June of 1968 Joan married Jerry Allen, her brother John’s roommate from the United States Air Force Academy. During Jerry’s third Air Force assignment in Southeast Asia, Joan taught English to Thai Army officers in Bangkok.
When Jerry’s tours in Vietnam concluded, Joan started what she described as the best job she ever had: mother to Craig and Crystal. She was proud that Craig graduated from the Air Force Academy and served as a fighter pilot, and Crystal graduated from the University of Oklahoma and was a professional ballerina. Air Force assignments took the family to fifteen states and Germany.
Then Jerry worked at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, for twelve years. There Joan was active in the Episcopal Church, singing in the choir and as a member of Daughters of the King. She led a group of dog owners who visited Blacksburg elementary schools and encouraged reluctant students to read aloud to the dogs. Dozens of children thrived in this program during each of the ten years that Joan ran the effort. One of the maxims that Joan taught her grandkids is to serve others, and this reading program was her proudest service. Joan encouraged her grandchildren to always be kind. She gave them additional advice reflecting how she lived her life: “Don’t neglect your studies. Always love your parents. Go to Sunday School and church. Play an instrument so that you will learn to read music. Study art; it adds beauty to your life. Always read; this is the best thing you can do for your mind and you will never stop learning.”
Joan is survived by her husband Jerry; their son Craig (Colleen) and their daughters Reagan, Parker, and Avery; their daughter Crystal Skelton (Will) and sons William and Christopher; and her brother, John Grozier, Colonel, USAF (Ret), and his wife Fran. In lieu of flowers, contributions are encouraged to the charity of your choice or Episcopal Relief and Development, P. O. Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058. Interment will be at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado, at a later date.
December 24, 1927 – January 31, 2020
Bergen County, NJ Resident
Mary Higgins Clark, international best-selling author of more than 50 novels, passed away in Naples, Florida, at the age of 92. Fondly known as the Queen of Suspense, her books sold more than 100 million copies, with her most recent novel published in November.
Mary was born on Dec. 24, 1927, in the Bronx. Her father, an immigrant from Ireland, died when she was eleven and left her mother with three children to care for. Her older brother died a few years later. She took after-school jobs to help pay expenses, including a period in which she worked as a switchboard operator at the Shelton Hotel in Manhattan.
She became a flight attendant for Pan American in the late forties and was a member of World Wings International—the philanthropic organization of former Pan Am flight attendants—for many years. She resigned from her position with Pan Am upon marrying Warren Clark—a man from her neighborhood in the Bronx—in 1949. Together, they had five children: Marilyn, Warren Jr., David, Carol, and Patricia. In 1964, Warren Clark died of a heart attack, leaving Mary to provide for her family.
In addition to maintaining various jobs, she continued to write stories and novels, submitting them for possible publication. To set a good example for her children, she entered Fordham University in 1971. She graduated summa cum laude in 1979, with a BA in philosophy. After signing with publishing giant Simon & Shuster in 1975, her novels found their way to the best-seller lists. Her success allowed her to provide for her family in a way she had never dreamed possible.
In 1978, she married Raymond Charles Ploetz, a lawyer, but the marriage was later annulled. She wed former Merrill Lynch executive John Conheeney in 1996, and they remained together until his death in 2018. She is survived by her five children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
December 7, 1925 – January 4, 2020
Kathleen Marie Cook Gray, long-time resident and active member of the Reno community, passed peacefully away on January 4th with members of her family at her side.
Kathy was born December 7, 1925 in Kearney, Nebraska, to Allen and Marguerite Cook. Raised in Nebraska and Southern California, she eventually made her home in Reno in 1957.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Worlin Gray, and is survived by her 5 children: Leslie Gray Manning (Scott), James Gray (Charissa), Allen Gray (Deanne), David Gray (Venetia), Doug Gray (Laura), and her step-son Richard Gray (Katherine), as well as 19 grandchildren and “bonus” grandchildren.
Kathy was a graduate of the University of Redlands and continued her education at the University of Southern California where she earned her RN. She loved flying and began her career with Pan American World Airways as a stewardess in 1948, where she met and married Worlin Gray, a Pan American pilot. She “retired” from Pan American to raise her family but managed to balance this with her work as a nurse, initially with the Reno Pediatric Clinic, then with the Washoe County School District. She went on to obtain a private pilot’s license and joined the Ninety Nines, an organization for women pilots, volunteering her time for club activities. She was an active member in the Reno chapter of World Wings International (the philanthropic organization of retired Pan American flight attendants) and Folded Wings (an organization of retired flight attendants in general). She was also active in AAUW (American Association of University Women), PEO International (a philanthropic organization promoting the advancement of women), and the USC Alumni Association. For many years, Kathy annually volunteered and staffed the information and registration booths at the annual Reno Air Races with both the Ninety Nines and her World Wings International chapter members.
Kathy’s daughter Leslie was also a Pan Am flight attendant. Her son Jim, a naval aviator, was the guest speaker on the Midway at the 2018 World Wings convention in San Diego. Kathy flew the last fight out of China on Pan Am. Some thirty years later, Leslie flew the first Pan Am flight back into China. You can see Kathy interviewed, with Leslie by her side, by CBS Sunday Morning at the Savannah convention.
Click here to view the video.
Those who knew Kathy quickly learned that she was a true sports nut (and a fierce competitor). For many years she was a member of the Reno Tennis Club and competed in numerous club round-robin tournaments. Later she joined the Washoe County Women’s Golf league and the Plumas Pines Women’s Golf League, participating in numerous tournaments up until her 90th birthday. When she couldn’t play golf anymore, you could find her at the High Sierra Lanes, competing in the women’s bowling league.
A memorial service will be held in celebration of Kathy’s life on Friday, January 24th, 1:00 pm at Mountain View Mortuary, 435 Stoker Avenue, Reno NV. The service and reception will be “Luau” themed, in honor of Kathy’s love of the South Seas. After the service, a reception will follow (location to be determined). In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation be made in Kathy’s name to the Pan American Historical Foundation at www.PanAm.org .
August 5, 1943 – January 16, 2020
Memphis, TN Resident
Kathie was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Carl and Maurice (Schulte) Peterson. She shared a wonderful childhood in a loving home with her older sister, Carole. Kathie graduated from St. Agnes Academy in the class of 1961 and then attended the University of Arkansas.
Her adventurous spirit combined with her curiosity about people and their cultures, led her to a thirty-two year career working in Flight Service as a Purser for Pan American World Airways and Delta Air Lines. She never tired of exploring the world, trying new cuisines or learning about ethnic traditions. Kathie was always happy to share her favorite restaurants, shopping places and tips with friends and passengers. Kathie was always based in New York. She lived in the city for many years, as well as Miami and Connecticut, before returning to live in Memphis.
Kathie enjoyed fishing and both participating and watching sports. She played tennis, was an excellent angler and held records for several of her catches both in the US and Australia. She loved watching both college and professional football. She was very proud of the Memphis College Tigers and their participation in the Cotton Bowl this year. Without question, her favorite sport was snow skiing. She enjoyed trying new locations and comparing the slopes on the East coast and Austria, France and Italy in Europe to the joys of powder skiing in the West. Vale, Colorado is definitely the place she loved the most of all.
Kathie was quick to offer a gracious welcome, a warm smile and the hand of friendship. She had a fabulous sense of humor and had a natural ability to share a joke or a funny story. She was a gourmet cook and loved to entertain. She will be remembered as a loyal friend, a loving sister, a devoted aunt and great aunt. She will be greatly missed by all us whose lives she touched.
Kathie is survived by her loving sister, Carole Hoelen, of Auckland, New Zealand, and her children – Ingrid (Dave) Waddell, Natalie (Dion) Mortimer, Andrea (Nick) McLister, all of Auckland, New Zealand, her nephew, Paul Hoelen of Tasmania, Australia, and four great nieces and three great nephews. She was so very grateful that Carole and her nieces were able to come to Memphis to spend time with her in November.
At Kathie’s request, she has been cremated and her ashes sent to her family in New Zealand for a private service. A Mass will be offered in remembrance of Kathie at 12:00 P.M., on Thursday, February 13, at St. Louis Catholic Church, 202 S. White Station Road, Memphis, TN. Messages of condolences and or special memories may be sent to the family at email@example.com.
July 15, 1964 – February 27, 2020
Canyon, TX Resident
Kayla Lynn McMahan was born to Jimmie K and Beverly McMahan in Houston, TX on July 15, 1964 and is preceded in death by her brother, Jason Kenneth McMahan. Kayla is survived by her father, Jim, her stepmother, Jo Anne McMahan, sisters Virginia Meers of Canton, OH, and Barbara Fassetta, San Antonio, TX, and brother Robert Moore, Pearland, TX, and many nieces and nephews.
Kayla attended Bellaire High School in Houston, where she first discovered her love for the Russian language, and took her first trip to Russia in her senior year. She went on to attend Texas A&M, graduating in 1988, with a degree in modern language. She was instrumental in starting the Russian Club at Texas A&M. Right out of college, Kayla began her career as a flight attendant with Pan Am, and subsequently Delta Airlines, accumulating over 31 years of flying the friendly skies. Kayla was proficient in the Russian language and flew countless flights to Russia over her career. Kayla will always be remembered for her love of travel, food and cooking and her love for her friends and family. We love you and miss you, Kayla.
We encourage Kayla’s friends to join us to celebrate her life. Your presence is welcome at a Memorial Service to be held at:
Canyon Lake Presbyterian Church
230 Shepherd Hill Drive
Canyon Lake, TX. 78133
March 14th, 11:00 AM
Reception to follow
World Wings International
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