It was my privilege to meet this delightfully charming,
optimistic, patriotic & bubbly WASP in April of 2003. Her spirit sparkled
from her head to her toes...and her laughter was contagious. She lit up from
the inside with her enthusiastic belief that God is indeed in charge, and
that His blessings were overflowing in her life. Marianne seemed to always
know how to look at the bright side of everything and to somehow manage to
keep smiling thru all circumstances, which was a gift not only for her, but
for those whose lives she touched.
Marianne believed that "If you have love at home, you can do anything," and
her life is a testament to the love of her family and her love of God.
She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 33, 1920 where
her family grew their own food and hauled water to the house. During the
cold Wisconsin winters, they used bandages from WWI to keep their legs warm
and as Marianne said, "We either laughed or we cried together."
Even though her family struggled to pay the bills, she and her brother &
sister got into the local movie house for free, because her mother played
the piano for the silent movies and, even during the hard times, "Christmas
was the best day of the year!" Thanks to her mother, Marianne knew how to
knit, sew and embroider before she was 10 years old. Sonja Henne was her
role model, until she saw Amelia Earhart in a Beechnut. "From the time I was
7 years old I wanted to fly an airplane...for $5 you could get a ride...and
I would (sic) sit on his lap." Her brother told her that girls don't fly,
but as she said, "Nothing stopped me from thinking about it."
She was determined, and read every book she could find at the local library
on aviation. When she graduated from High School, she told her classmates,
"I'm going to fly Army Air planes." They all laughed.
Because her family had no money, she worked even harder to achieve her goal
of learning to fly, taking odd jobs at the airport, scrubbing airplanes and
hangar floors. After she soloed, she joined the Civil Air Patrol. In 1942,
after she was accepted into the WASP training program, her father took the
last $28 he had in his pocket and paid for her train ticket to Sweetwater.
During WASP training, Marianne remembered the food was "the best I ever
had!" She was quickly promoted to Squadron Commander and flew PT-19's,
BT-13's, UC-78's, and AT-6's. AFter successfully completing training,
Marianne earned her silver wings and graduated as a member of Class 43-W-5.
She was then sent to Wilmington, Deleware to serve as part of
the Ferry Command. Shortly after her arrival, she was sent to pursuit
school. After completing pursuit training, she ferried P-47's, P-40's,
P-39's, P-63's and as co-pilot on B-24's, C-46's and B-25's until the WASP
were disbanded. Since the war was not over, Marianne joined the Marines and
went thru boot camp at Camp LeJune. She served as an air traffic controller
until the end of the war. Marianne married Marine David Nutt in 1945. After
a military wedding, Marianne resigned from the Marines and became an Air
Force wife when her husband joined the Air Force as a member of the
Strategic Air Command.
Marianne worked as a Senior Air Traffic Controller & Tower
Supervisor for Grumman Aerospace from 1953 to 1984. She opened the
tower at Stuart, Florida and served there 27 years, along with volunteering
at Martin Memorial Hospital, Stuart, Florida. Marianne also worked in
the church thrift shop, bread of life kitchen and sang in the church choir
at St. Martin De Porres Catholic Church, Jensen Beach, Florida.
"God is in Charge! You don't have to be
rich, just keep working and believe in yourself!"
When asked what made her happy, Marianne answered without
hesitation: "What I've been able to do for my country and for God."
She just sparkled...and is rich indeed...and leaves a legacy of love,
optimism, determination, compassion and kindness.
What an honor it was to meet her and to be inspired by her
story, her courage, her determination, her faith and her laughter.
Marianne died on January
16, 2005. She is survived by her son, Dave Nutt and
grandchildren Steven and Catherine Nutt.
A memorial service will
be held at 9am on FRIDAY, January 21 at Hudgels-Swan Funeral Home Inc -
(520) 747-2525 - 1335 S Swan Rd, Tucson, AZ 85711 with military honors
service following at
SIERRA VISTA --Southern Arizona Veteran's Memorial Cemetery at 12:30pm.