Annelle Henderson Bulechek, 83, died Jan. 4, 2004, in a
Born in Amarillo, Texas, Mrs. Bulechek grew up in Lake
Charles and moved to Shreveport in 1968, where she resided until she
returned to Lake Charles in 2001. She was a 1936 graduate of Lake Charles
High School. She was a member of The Ninety-Nines Inc., an international
organization of women pilots, and she flew during World War II as a member
of the Women Air Service Pilots. She was a member of W.B. Williamson Post 1
and the U.S. Golf Association, and she served on the mayor's Armed Forces
Commission. She was an avid golfer, winning numerous awards for her skill.
Mrs. Bulechek marketed advertising for Mullers, Love's, The Fashion and the
She is survived by her husband of 59 years, Russell
Robert Bulechek of Lake Charles; one daughter, Mrs. Ed (Barbara) Reiser of
Lake Charles; one granddaughter, Rebecca "Becky" Ann Reiser of Nashville,
Tenn.; and one grandson, Robert Russell Reiser of Lake Charles. Mrs.
Bulechek was preceded in death by her father, James Lester Henderson;
mother, Pearl Dees Henderson; brother, James D. Henderson; and sister,
Margaret Henderson Scott.
At the deceased's request, there will be no funeral or
memorial services. Her remains will be donated to the LSU School of Medicine
in New Orleans.
Memorial donations may be made to Wings Across America,
Baylor University, P.O. Box 97160, Waco, TX 76798-7160, or to the charity of
reprinted from the Lake Charles
An added note from
Nancy & Deanie Parrish:
It was our honor to spend a day
with Annelle and her daughter, Barbara in August, 2000. What a
bright, witty and extraordinary woman. Of all the interviews we
have done, we laughed more as our tears fell than any other interview we
have done. No obituary could describe half the wonderful things
about her. So, please allow us to share a few quotes from Annelle.
This is how we will always remember her:
At age 80, Annelle was playing in a
foursome with 3 lady golf champions and wanted to relieve some of the
tension: "God gave me my pick. I could either be a
champion golfer...or I could be an 80 year old sex symbol and I made my
choice." from then on they would say, here comes the 80 year old
sex symbol. On her championship trophy, it reads "Shreveport's
Super Senior, Sex Symbol 2000 Big S Championship"
About Officer's Training School:
"—the advanced Officers Training Course—training school
in Orlando, Florida, which was the glamour base of the world. It was
gorgeous, and we had all the foreign officers, all the free French, all
the British officers were there for all this advanced administrative
hush-hush training—radar secret training. Everything was secret,
secret. And the Australians. We had them everywhere—Russians,
everybody was there. And I just was so thrilled I was picked to go down
to this school. And I got down there and nobody knew what you were, of
course, you were back to, ‘What are you-- a flight nurse?’ ‘No, I’m a
Anyway, first thing I did was meet this darling little
British Intelligence Officer. He had a little mustache, and he was a
‘cutie’. He said, ‘Oh, a WASP?’ I said, ‘Yes’. And so he said, ‘Well,
can I take you to dinner?’ So we went into the officers’ mess, and we
were sitting there with all these different nationalities...and I was in
my little uniform, and I was just adorable. Of course, we were all
adorable at 23 years old, but I was especially adorable that day. And I
was also especially capable. And we sat around the table, and they
wanted to know what I did. And I told them. And I said, (actually, I
exaggerated. There’s just no getting away from it because when I ended
up with my story, it sounded like I had my life in my hands, four to
eight hours every day, you know, just fighting the war. It was very,
very exciting.) And this officer kept punching me a little.
Down at the end of the table was the worst looking woman I’ve
ever seen in green fatigues. She had a bowl haircut—just like this. No
make-up. Awful looking thing--just beating herself like this—by herself
down at the other end of the table. And I got cuter by the minute by
comparison. My story got a little louder, by comparison. And finally she
got up, and she walked out. And I said, ‘Who in the world was the ‘slob’ at
the other end of the table?’ And they said, ‘That was Olga (whatever her
name was I can’t pronounce). She was the Russian ‘ace’ that had seven
German planes to her credit. And I said, ‘Oh h___, I hope she doesn’t speak
English’. That was the only thing I could think of to say. But here I am,
and she has German (they were fighter pilots, you know), seven German planes
to her credit. So that is my most embarrassing moment of my lifetime.
That’s where I really made an ‘ass’ of myself. OK. That was Officers’
Training School. "
ANNELLE on video, August 2002
What will your legacy be: "I hope they'll say she
was a tough old girl."
As you look back over your life, what is the one thing that you are most
proud of? My daughter. My grandchildren. That sounds trite,
but now I see that’s what’s important. I was proud of having served my
country. I’m proud of having a successful marriage for fifty-six years,
but when I look at it now, I always live in the present and the future.
I can’t live in the past. And I think what I’m most proud of is my
daughter and my grandchildren and my son-in-law. That’s all the family
I have left. And I think that’s my accomplishment, my greatest
Besides your family, what have you done that
you're most proud of? "I hope I've made a lot of people happy
and I hope I've made a lot of people laugh. I'm proud of my
service in the WASP but I'm proud I have a lot of friends. I think
I've made a lot of people happy and I know I've made a lot of people
laugh and I think that's a successful life"
What would you say to kids 25 years from now:
"We've got to get back to where we care about each
other. Everybody's too interested in themselves now and their own
tidy little lives and we've got to get back to where we care about each
Why didn't you resign when you married (in December
of 1944) "Oh I was staying till the bitter end. I'm not
a quitter. They're gonna throw me out. I'm not resigning
just hope that they don’t change the heart of America. And I don’t know how
else to say it, because there’s going to be many changes in the next twenty
or thirty years, but I hope the heart of America stays the same, or gets
better. Gosh, it was good in my day. We all hung together, and everybody
was for everybody else. And everybody’s too interested in themselves now
and their own tidy little lives (small lives), and we’ve got to get
back to where we care about each other. And I hope it improves in the next
twenty to thirty…I’m looking forward to the next twenty, thirty years to see
an improvement in heart. That’s what won’t change if you keep it good--
it’ll stay good. There ain’t no new wheels to put on that, or new wings.
That’s about it.
said we couldn’t do it. We did it, and we did it successfully. And by
records, Hap Arnold’s own account, we did it as well as any man could have
done it. And I think that’s the…I think that’s the legacy that we should
leave behind us—that laws and lawsuits and everything else doesn’t make you
what you are. It’s what you want to be and what you go ahead and do that
and finally -- her quote that we have used on
our opening web page for the last 2 years:
"You don't need legislation to prove something. You can
be whatever you set your heart and head to be, and don't let anybody
tell you can't be, because 1078 women pilots did it in World War II."
Annelle on tape: "Soundbytes of the