Mary Holden   44-w-3

Mary Holden, a long-time resident of Friday Harbor, passed away peacefully, attended by her family, on Feb. 18 in Redwood City, Calif.

Mary was born in Riverside, Calif. In 1944 after college, she joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) — the first women in history to fly America’s military aircraft. She served until the end of the war. During her time with the WASPs, she became a group leader and was named Miss Victory.

Mary and her husband, Bob, discovered Fish Creek at Cattle Point while cruising from San Francisco to Canada in the 1980s. After moving to Cattle Point, they loved cruising with their friends and fellow members of the San Juan Yacht Club.

Mary is survived by her son, Steven de Laet; daughter-in-law, Dianne; grandchildren, Elisa de Laet-Jagerson and Michael de Laet; stepdaughters, Catherine and Ellen Holden; and step-granddaughter, Darcy Mann.

A private memorial will be held on San Francisco Bay.

Donations can be made to the WASP Museum. Visit or mail your donations to Wings Across America, Baylor University, P.O. Box 97160, Waco, TX 76798-7160.

Mary Holden ... was one of first female pilots to take the controls of a U.S. military plane.

posted March 25, 2003    reprinted © Copyright 2003 San Juan Journal