Geneva was asked to take flying lessons by her husband Douglas so she would understand his passion for flying, and guess what, she fell in love with flight!
She earned her private pilots license in 1961 at the Salinas Airport with Jack Jella as her flight instructor. Geneva took lessons for a long period of time prior to announcing her activities to her mother to avoid unnecessary worry. However, the rest of her family was so enthusiastic about flying that her son Donald also learned to fly at about the same time.
Favorite flight destinations include Acapulco, a three week trip to Alaska, and the East Coast. Acapulco was their first long flight and most remembered due to the complexities inherent to international flight.
Geneva's biggest thrill in flying was as the co-pilot in the 1966 Powder Puff Derby with Helen Shropshire in Helen's Comanche 180. The race started in Seattle, Washington and ended in Clearwater, Florida. She also flew as co-pilot with Jo Dieser in the final Powder Puff Derby race in 1976 and participated in several other race starts. She has enjoyed being a part of these events and says these were wonderful experiences, not only in flying but meeting other Ninety-Nines from around the world.
Geneva was introduced to The Ninety-Nines by Zoedell West when the Monterey Bay Chapter was beginning its charter in 1965. Geneva held many offices, including Chapter Chairman and received the pilot of the year award in 1974 and 1982. Geneva's outstanding analytical capabilities have helped her develop, market and patent the official International Ninety-Nines' sales booth.
As committee co-chair, she also helped orchestrate the Asilomar Section meeting in 1986. Asilomar was hailed as one of the most popular destinations ever for the Southwest Section meetings!
Geneva was also committee chair for two Monterey County Air Tours in 1982 and 1983. Our chapter, with the help from other local airmen, took elected county officials flying over Monterey County with special emphasis on their area of representation.
Climb to Amelia Earhart Peak
In 1969, Yosemite National Park in California named a peak after Amelia Earhart. To commemorate this honor and the 50th anniversary of Amelia's last flight, Geneva organized a climb to the top of the Amelia Earhart Peak in 1987 with a group of 24 Ninety-Nines. A time capsule was inserted at the top with the history of The Ninety-Nines enclosed.
Geneva was recognized in the fourth grade as an outstanding leader by the American Legion, and has lived up to that standard throughout her life in The Ninety-Nines as well as all her many other outside interests. The Ninety-Nines are privileged to have such an outstanding member of our community contribute to the overall success of the International Organization of Women Pilots.
The Monterey Bay Chapter sponsored Geneva into the Forest of Friendship in Atchison, KS.
A love for gardening inspired her to design a new garden at her church and she also was chairwoman for the annual Salinas Valley Quilt Show for many years.
Her creativity has reached many areas including a wood-carving of "Susie the Otter". Several other of her carvings were displayed at Monterey County Fairs and the Carmel Foundation.
As an outdoor enthusiast, Geneva enjoys river rafting, hiking, and synchronized swimming. Her two favorite river rafting trips were to Salmon, Idaho and the Grand Canyon.
Always in Style!
Creativity comes in many forms - from designing the official 99s sales booth, organizing section meetings and the appropriate props, such as butterfly wings, to fashion design - Geneva has given us all a visual feast to enjoy.
A flair for fashion, Geneva designed and made many matching ensembles for the Monterey Bay Chapter's events following a theme. She designed Spanish outfits for the Air Race Classic "take off" at the Salinas Airport. Her creativity led to the development of huge "Butterfly Wings" that were attached to a Volkswagen Beetle so that after landing at the Monterey Airport for the Asilomar Section Meeting, pilots would be guided to the parking area by the official "follow me" vehicle.