At age 17, Marie's desire was to become a pilot and she worked at the local airport to support her flying lessons. After obtaining her pilot's license at age 19, she had 300 hours and was working towards her instructor's license when the U.S. entered the war. Marie read about Jacqueline Cochran who had a training program in Houston teaching women to fly the ``army way''. She was chosen to train in Sweetwater, Texas to become part of the program known as the WASP, the Women Airforce Service Pilots.
She was in the second class, 43-2, and part of the Air Transport Command, Ferrying Division. She ferried several different planes, including the AT-6, BT-13, PT-19 and the B-25 bomber. After marrying and starting a family, Marie had several business interests, including owning and operating a millinery factory in Dallas. She also owned and managed a health food store in West Palm Beach, Florida. She was an avid stock and options trader, excellent seamstress, and jewelry designer.
Her interest and concern for her health and well being, held our hope that she would live much longer. And yet, we found out that Heaven needed to be graced with another angel and it was time for her to leave this life for another. We are so proud of the way she lived her life. We are also proud of the grace and dignity that she carried through her difficult last two months, and we admire and respect her lovely youthful spirit both in life and through her struggles towards the end.
We will miss her dearly. She is free to fly again.
Marie is survived by her three daughters and one son; Laura Holland and husband Tom, Sue Legacy and husband Don, and Michael Genaro all from Austin, and Cynthia LaMorticella, husband Tony and grandchildren Mario and Adria from Eugene, Oregon. Sisters Madeline, Loretta, Dorothy, Gloria, and Joannie, and many, many nieces, nephews, and cousins also survive her.
Memorial Services will be held on Friday, January 17th at 1:30 p.m. at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home with Rev. Dr. Ann Hagmann officiating. Contributions in her name may be made to The American Heart Association.
The family wishes to thank the very caring staff of doctors, nurses, and rehab specialists at Main Speciality Hospital of Austin. Arrangements by Weed-Corley- Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N. Lamar, Austin, TX 78705 - (512)452-8811
reprinted from the Austin American Statesman, January 15, 2003
Return to Final
Return to WASP on the WEB