Evelyn Bryan Johnson Assisted Living Facility Jefferson City, Evelyn Bryan Johnson liked to tell people that she and the sky fell in â€ślove at first flight.â€ť
Their romance began during World War II, when Mrs. Johnsonâ€™s husband was serving in the Army Air Forces and she was holding down their dry cleaning business in Jefferson City, Tenn. She was lonely and looking for a hobby when a newspaper advertisement caught her attention. â€śLearn to fly,â€ť the promotion said.
â€śWell, I believe I will,â€ť Mrs. Johnson recalled thinking.
She enrolled in flight lessons, flew solo for the first time on Nov. 8, 1944, in a Piper J-3 Cub, and earned her private pilotâ€™s license the next year. Then she was off. Over the next six decades, she learned to fly seaplanes, multi-engine aircraft and helicopters. She logged 57,635 hours in the air â€” more than any other woman in history.
Mrs. Johnson was 102 when she died on May 10 of undisclosed causes at an assisted living facility in Jefferson City. Britt Farr, a representative of the local funeral home that handled arrangements, confirmed her death.
In 2007, Mrs. Johnson was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Ohio, whose members also include the Wright brothers, astronauts Neil Armstrong and John Glenn and test pilot Chuck Yeager.
Only the late Ed Long, an Alabama man who inspected power lines from a low-flying plane, logged more flight hours than Mrs. Johnson. Long spent the equivalent of seven years aloft; Mrs. Johnson could claim about six and a half.
In that time, she traveled a reported 5.5 million miles â€” a distance equal to about a dozen round-trip flights to the moon. She flew in five Powder Puff Derbies, the old coast-to-coast races for female pilots, and raced from Washington to Havana in 1955. (Washington Post)
Greg Ham Found Dead Home Did Not Appear Suspicious Under Investigation, Greg Ham, a member of the Australian band Men at Work whose saxophone and flute punctuated its smash 1980s hits, was found dead in his Melbourne home on Thursday.
Police said the death did not appear to be suspicious, though the cause was not immediately known. A friend who found Ham’s body said he hadn’t been the same since 2010, when a court ruled that his signature flute riff from the song “Down Under” had been stolen from a classic campfire song.
Victoria state police confirmed that the deceased was the 58-year-old resident of Ham’s house but did not identify him by name, in keeping with local practice. Ham was 58 and neighbors said he was the lone occupant of the house.
Men at Work topped charts around the world in 1983 with the songs “Down Under” and “Who Can it Be Now?” and won a Grammy Award that year for Best New Artist.
Frontman Colin Hay issued a statement expressing deep love for Ham, whom he met in 1972 when they were seniors in high school. Hay recalled decades of shared experiences with Ham – from appearing on “Saturday Night Live,” to flying through dust storms over the Grand Canyon, to getting lost in the rural Australian countryside.
“We played in a band and conquered the world together,” Hay said. “I love him very much. He’s a beautiful man. … He’s here forever.”
Two concerned friends who had not heard from Ham in some time found his body after going to check on him, police said. (AP)
Leroy Walker Durham No Cause Given, LeRoy Walker, the first African-American to head the U.S. Olympic Committee and coach an American Olympic track and field team, has died. He was 93.
Scarborough & Hargett Funeral home says Walker died Monday in Durham. No cause of death was given.
Walker led the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1992-96, shepherding the Atlanta Games. He also coached the U.S. track team in 1976, which brought home 22 medals, including gold in the long jump, discus, decathlon, 400-meter hurdles and both men’s relays.
Walker spent more than 40 years at North Carolina Central University, first as track coach, then later as chancellor of the school.
Current U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Scott Blackmun says Walker’s impact on the U.S. Olympic movement and track and field will be felt for generations to come. (CBS/AP)
Denmark At Her Daughter’s Home Athens, Denmark was the world’s fourth-oldest person when she died. She did pioneering research on whooping cough, which killed many babies, during a 1932 epidemic and helped develop a successful vaccine.Dr. Leila Daughtry Denmark, a Georgia pediatrician who was the country’s oldest known practicing physician when she retired at 103, died Sunday at her daughter’s home in Athens, Ga., her family announced. She was 114.
Denmark was the world’s fourth-oldest person when she died, according to the Gerontology Research Group, which verifies claims of extreme old age.
The third of 12 children, she was born Feb. 1, 1898, in eastern Georgia and grew up on a farm learning to tend to plants and wanting to heal animals, she later said.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgia’s Tift College in 1922 and taught high school science before enrolling at the Medical College of Georgia in 1924. She was the only woman in a class of 52 students, according to a National Library of Medicine biography.
Four years later, she became the third woman to earn a medical degree from the school. She soon married John Eustace Denmark, a banker whom she had known since grade school.
She began her internship in 1928 in the segregated black wards of Grady Hospital in Atlanta and later that year became the first intern at what is now Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia. (Los Angeles Times)