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"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things."

Elinor Smith
early aviatrix



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Zoe Dell Nutter

Zoe Dell Nutter (1915- ) was born in Oregon and moved to Dayton 50 years ago when she married Ervin Nutter, owner of Elano Corporation, which built airplane parts for General Electric. Mrs. Nutter gave up a career in ballet and a short film career with Paramount Pictures, when she accepted a position to promote the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939. Later, she was California's representative at the World's Fair in Brussels, which led to her becoming the "Flying Ambassador" to the Century 21 Exposition at Seattle and the New York World's Fair. She earned a pilot's license and worked in marketing for Piper Aviation to improve pilot safety, increase the number of private pilots and encourage women in the profession. At Elano, her experience in marketing complemented her husband's technical aviation expertise. There, she headed the Small Aircraft Division and became one of the company's pilots. It was her influence that resulted in enhanced airplane manifolds that generated more power for planes flying over mountains, improved engine maintenance and resulted in quieter, warmer cockpits during flights. Elano eventually was purchased by GE Aviation. In Dayton, Mrs. Nutter was a primary force in leading the effort for the National Aviation Hall of Fame, enlisting her Congressional friends to enact legislation to create it. She has served on local, state and national boards of trustees and received numerous awards.

Mrs. Nutter has been a longtime member of the Ninety-Nines and we hope that representatives will attend her induction into the Dayton Region's Walk of Fame at 11 a.m. September 24 at Sinclair Community College's Ponitz Center in downtown Dayton, OH. We are elated that Mrs. Nutter will attend the event.

In addition to her many other accomplishments, Mrs. Nutter was a primary force in establishing the National Aviation Hall of Fame, enlisting her Congressional friends to enact legislation to create it. She is a major donor for the establishment of the Triumph of Flight Monument that will be erected in Dayton to honor the Wright Brothers. Now, her outstanding achievements will be etched on a paver and embedded along the Walk of Fame, located in the Wright Dunbar Historic District. Her accomplishments will be forever emblazoned in Dayton history.


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