Sunday, March 17, 2013

Herbert J. Johnson, NWA Capt. ret., Has Flown West

Three generations at NWA: l-r: Merry Jo, Scott, Herb, Erik

Herb Johnson was a NWA pilot for 32 years until 1981, when retirement was mandatory at age 60.  His wife, Merry Jo, was a NWA stewardess from 1949-51.  'Jo' (short for Merry Jo)  flew on every NWA B-377 Stratocruiser, 701-710. They were married March 30, 1951 and founded a "flying dynesty," as memorialized in the chapter "Stratocruiser Stewardess," page 70, in my book Fujiyama Trays & Oshibori Towels. 
Before the dynasty began, however, 'Jo' became the first NWA stewardess to continue flying after marriage. And it was "legal." Art Bergman, who was then head of Crew Scheduling, asked 'Jo' to keep on flying as they were short staffed.  'Jo' agreed, as long as she could fly with her husband, Herb.
 Herb and Jo in Billings, Mt.

Both son Scott and grandson Erik are pilots for NWA/Mesaba/Delta and daughter Linda is a customer service agent for NWA/Delta at MSP.  
It was my pleasure to visit the Johnsons in Cannon Falls, MN, where Herb grew up.  He gave me a wonderful tour of the farm that he (and now son Scott) have worked during their flying years. 
Arrangements have been made.  See the Star Tribune for details.

Anne Kerr has written and published Fujiyama Trays & Oshibori Towels, winner of the 2009 Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame Writer’s Award, chronicling her experiences as a Northwest Orient Airlines stewardess in the 1950s. 48 photos. 128 pages.


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