The beginnings that led to the formation of our Chapter…
Ila Loetscher Fox, 99s charter member

At the end of the Women’s Air Derby from Santa Monica CA to Cleveland OH in 1929, a group of women met to discuss formation of a women pilots organization. An open invitation was sent to all 117 licensed women pilots, and several weeks later, 99 charter members came together at Curtiss Field in Valley Stream, Long Island, NY. The Ninety-Nines organization was born. Fifteen charter members were from the North Central Section. One of these charter members was from Iowa – Ida Loetscher Fox.

Ila Fox was the first woman born in Iowa to earn a pilot’s license – private pilot’s license #7738 (September, 1929). She was one of twin girls born in 1904 (Callender, IA) and moved to Pella. She later attended Pella’s Central College and graduated from the University of Iowa.

Ellen Church (Cresco, IA) became the first airline stewardess in the country. She talked with the traffic manager of Boeing Air Transport (United Air Lines) about her idea of hiring nurses to serve passengers. Although skeptical of this plan, the board of directors hired Church as the chief stewardess. Church hired seven additional nurses and contributed to the design of their uniforms. These women began working May 15, 1930.

Iowa Chapter Chairs
Ellen Church, pilot and 1st flight attendant

1982-1983 Barbara Brotherton
1983-1985 Karen Stinson Hanus
1985-1987 Karen Hildreth
1987-1989 Martha Matthews
1989-1991 Maureen Christensen
1991-1993 Helene Holton
1993-1994 Jan Walton
1994-1996 Myrna Stephens
1996-2000 Elaine Fitch
2000-2002 Celma Higgins
2002-2004 Sarah Barber
2004-2006 Kirschen Seah
2006-2007 Sheri Horn
2007-2010 Carol Berg
2010-2012 Minnetta Gardinier
2012-2014 Deb McGee
2014-2018 Jeneanne Visser

Section Officers from the Iowa Chapter

1939-1940 Belle Hetzel, Vice Governor
1940-1942 Belle Hetzel, Governor
1942-1943 Agnes J. Dehaven, Secretary/Treasurer
1948-1950 Thelma Olson, Treasurer
1950-1951 Ruth Shimon, Secretary
1951-1952 Ruth Shimon, Governor
1964-1966 Kathryn Hach, Treasurer
1967-1969 Phyllis Barber, Secretary
2012-2014 Minnetta Gardinier, Vice Governor
2014-2018 Minnetta Gardinier, Governor
2014-2018 Deb McGee, Treasurer

AEMSF Award winners from the Iowa Chapter

Samantha Claypool – AE Fly Now Award (2020)
Elizabeth Baldwin – AE Fly Now Award (2018)

??? – please send information if you know any Iowa AE Scholars