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 . . . 


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