Monday, April 29, 2013

Patricia Moran Chronicles - Conclusion

This amazing adventure continues for Lady Skywriter.  Did you ever dream what you were unleashing, Lona Falenczykowski, when you lent me Pat Moran's book of poetry, "Come Fly With Me"?
And thank you again Karen Schmit and Robert DuBert for publishing my request for information about Pat Moran and her book of poetry in your respective newsletters.  That brought me two copies of Pat's book and a newsletter clipping which sent me on the way!
Thank you Darlene Jevne for sending me your autographed copy.
And thank you Nancy Lowman for sending me your copy and the newspaper clippings which were so helpful.
Kim Langer, Pat Moran's niece and daughter of Mickey Franzmeier, told me Pat had another sister, Billie Brown, living in Onalaska, Wash. Kim told me she would contact Billie to tell her I'd like to talk to her.  Billie called within a week and it was great to meet her.
Billie said she and Pat lived together when they were going to the University of Minnesota.  Pat graduated from the U of M with a degree in education. Pat's interest was in early childhood education. Her dream was to start a nursery school one day.  But first, she joined Northwest Airlines in March, 1959, right after graduation, and was a stewardess out of MSP until her death in the crash of NWA Flight 293 on June 3, 1963. Although Pat and Lady Skywriter were on the NWA stewardess roster together for almost a year, to my knowledge we never flew together.  Dang - again, I wish I had hung on to those darn log books!
Billie confirmed that Pat married Jim Wansettler in March, 1963.  She also confirmed that their brother, Lt. John W. Moran, Jr., who introduced Pat and Jim, was killed in an airplane crash in Waimea Canyon, Kaui Hawaii, in January, 1963.  Billie herself was newly married. Her husband Patrick was drafted in March of that year, and when Pat's plane crashed they were living in Virginia.
On top of losing a brother and sister in separate airplane accidents in 1963, Billie told me their father, John Moran Sr., died in December, 1963 of a heart attack.  He was 53 years old.  Needless to say, their whole family was reeling - it was a very sad year for the Moran family. Billie also reminded me that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November, 1963.
Jim Wansettler eventually remarried and has lived in Florida for many years.  He married Marian Jacobson, Pat's best friend. They had two children.
The way this has been going, folks, more Patricia Moran stories may surface and are certainly welcome!
Thanks to all of you who responded to her persistent quest, Lady Skywriter is satisfied, and hopefully has taken her readers on an interesting journey.
Let's finish with one of Pat's poems:

Clang, Brinnng, Clang; Click, Click
His hands move swiftly through the cockpit.
Pumps ~ 4 on, Gear ~ locked, Controls ~ free,
Each movement, each word is a check, done
As his eyes strain and his mind works rapidly,
Everything is put in order, just so and exactly.
Now, we are ready for take-off.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Patricia Moran Chronicles, Part 3

What an amazing journey this has been for Lady Skywriter.  I have not learned all I would like about Pat Moran, but have made incredible progress thanks to so many helpers. Karen Schmit, editor of BITS AND PIECES and Bob DuBert, editor of Reflections both published my request for information about Pat Moran and her book.

Thanks to their efforts, from not knowing anything about her, except for her book of poetry "Come Fly With Me," published in 1962 by Gilbert Publishing Company in Minneapolis, I have learned that Pat lost her life in June 1963 in a Northwest Airlines plane crash off the coast of Alaska. I was contacted by Darlene Jevne, Nancy Lowman and Harry Bedrosian with this information.  Darlene and Nancy both sent me copies of Pat's book.

Nancy Lowman found a yellowed newspaper clipping about the airplane crash that took Pat's life in her book and  sent it to me with the book. As I reported in my blog of March 16, I began looking for Pat's sister, Mrs. Arthur Franzmeier, who was quoted in the article.  I found an Arthur Franzmeier listed in St. Paul, and left a message that I was looking for Patricia Moran's sister.  Within a day or two I received a call from Frank Ocello, telling me that Art Franzmeier was not at this address, but had been married to Pat Moran's sister, Mickey Franzmeier, and they were since divorced.   He kindly offered to call Art, who now lives in Wisconsin, to see if he could help me any further. Frank called back to tell me that Mickey died a year and a half ago. Micky told the newspaper reporter in June, 1963, that Pat Moran had married U. S. Navy pilot James Wonsettler a couple of months before the crash. I wanted to confirm this and see if I could find any other of Pat's siblings to talk to.

Within a week or so, I received a telephone call from Kim Langer, who identified herself as Mickey's daughter, Pat Moran's niece.  Wow.  Kim not only corroborated the information her mother gave the reporter, she sent me a photo of Pat and her husband James on their wedding day, March 18, 1963.  She also told me Pat was pregnant at the time of the crash of NWA Flight 293.

When I shared with Kim my frustration at not having detailed information about the NWA #293 crash, she told me she thought she had the Civil Aeronautics Board (forerunner of the Federal Aeronautics Administration) Aircraft Accident Report released in 1964.  As it turns out, not only did she find it, she made a copy of it for Lady Skywriter and forwarded it to me with the above photo attached.  For all of its detail, the CAB report sheds no further light on the cause of the crash.  It concludes simply, "Because of a lack of evidence, the Board is unable to determine the probable cause of this accident."
Before we finished talking, Kim also told me Pat Moran's sister Billie Brown is still alive and lives in Washington state. Kim said she would try to put Billie and I in touch with one another.
Stay tuned . . .