Beverly Beesemyer 44-6

I was born in 1918, in Hollywood, California.  Attended Beverly Hills High School and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and graduated in 1937.  I attended the University of Southern California, (USC) majoring in art and the Art Center in California, majoring in commercial art.  I worked as an artist with one other, selling work to stores like, I Magnine, Saks 5th Avenue, etc.  When WWII started, my activities changed to defense plants, Lockhead Aircraft Co. in Burbank, California, working as a dispatcher and expediter.

Hearing about women being accepted for flying, six of us girls decided to learn to fly.  During the war we had to be one hundred miles inland from the coast, so we went to Bishop, California, a six hour drive.  On Friday evening at the end of work to get instruction for flying on Saturday and Sunday morning.  We returned Sunday for work on Monday.  It was not allowing me to get flying time fast enough so I took a leave of absence from work and spent three weeks in Quartzsite, Arizona getting my private license which was a requirement to apply to WASP training at that time.

After references, personal interview, and a physical, I was finally sent a telegram to report to Sweetwater, Texas, for class 44-5.  It was a cold winter, flying the Stearman PT-13, open cockpit, and a hot summer in the closed canopy of the BT-13 and AT-6.  I was stationed at Mercede Army Air Base, then transferred to the B-26 Pilot Training at Las Vegas Army Air Base.

After deactivation, in the ’40s, I worked at the Monrovia Airport in California, flying and then to ferrying planes from the factory to their destination.  When the demand for female pilots stopped as the war ended, it was time to change careers, so I went to work for an employment agency.  After two years I opened up the Beverly-Cross Agency with a aprtner, having an office in Westwood, near the University of California, Los Angeles campus and another in Beverly Hills, California.  I placed office personnel with advertising and theatrical agencies, stars, and well established business firms, owning the agency for more than 20 years.

During the period as agency owner, we bough and sold property in Venice, California and Marina del Rey, California, fixing up, paneling, painting for resale.   One house we bought and remodeled was Billy Sunday’s old retreat.  We found this out after the purchase.

Needing some recreation and living at the beach and Marina del Rey Harbor, a boat seemed appropriate.  Buying a single engine 28 foot cruiser and learning to park it in a slip was like landing a Stearman in a crosswind, with wind and current playing havoc with a floating object.  A twin engine cruiser was the next purchase, 34 foot twin 250 hp engines.  A speedy one named The Sea Bit II.  We were challenged to a race now and then, so toying with our Foe, we would hit the throttle and wave goodbye.  We became known as the “Hot Rod Girls of Marina del Rey.”

Retirement was on my mind and needing a major change, we sold everything: business, home, boat, apartments and purchased six lots in the Ozark Country.  My partner’s brother-in-law, who was a builder in Joplin, Missouri, built a home for us on Grand Lake of the Cherokee, Grove, Oklahoma – located halfway between Tulsa, Oklahoma and Joplin, Missouri.  We had a dock and purchased a 20 foot fishing boat, and I got back into art work again.  We sold at art and craft shows in Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas.  The real estate bug called, so we bought 23 acres of lake front land, subdivided, plotted and sold lots.

Being a native Californian, the tornadoes and storms really got to me since we lived in the country.  With large trees surrounding the house, I found the storm celler more often than I wanted.  Even though it was very comfortable with lights, cots, games and cards, it was still a hole in the ground.

It was back to California with a bag and baggage to Leisure World, Laguna Hills, California and a bit of retirement living in a new home.  I learned to play golf and I joined a nine hole golf club.  I took the job as treasurer, improved my game and became club champion.  Feeling a bit more confident, I joined an 18 hole golf club, accepting the job as handicap person.  After three years on the board, I decided golf was for fun and that’s the way it is.

In 1964, In the Sunday Los Angeles Times, there was a full page write up and pictures on our boat “The Sea Bit” called “A Sea Romance – Girl Meets Buoy.”

I had a small interview on the TV showing on WASP called “Free A Man to Flight,” and a TV interview at the dedication of the WASP statue at the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Also a Los Angeles Times interview on WASP in 1996.  I received a Distinguished Service Award from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in March 25, 1995.

Source: Out of the Blue and Into History

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Beverly Beesemyer 44-6”

  1. Alfred Clarkon 24 Feb 2009 at 2:50 am

    I guess we are cousins being Maria’s son, sister to your father (Uncle Lewis). I live in Auburn California after retirement from Orange County. Being a young boy during WWII I always was impressed with a your WASP service. My sister, Marilyn, called me yesterday. She had been contacted by the wife of Uncle Bill’s grandson (maybe a great grandson) who just happened to live a couple blocks away in Pasadena. She was looking for info on the Beesemyer family and Marilyn was getting some info together.

    I did a google on Beesemyer and your site came up and am forwarding it to my son, Loren, who has been fasinated with family history. He has found it very difficult to develope any information beyond the California folks including the verious spellings of the name. He could not find any connections in Warren County, MO where Grandpa came from. If you have any tidpits they would be greatly appreciated.

    Your WASP picture is exactly how I have remembered you.

    Al Clark

  2. Matthew Reece Johnstonon 03 Dec 2009 at 5:06 pm

    If Al is correct that would make you my Cousin once removed. Al is my mother’s first cousin. My mother was Gwen Reece daughter of Gertrude Beesemeyer Reece. I have childhood memories of both visting Aunt Maria in her later years and of playing with Al’s kids at their home in Orange County.

    I reside in La Mirada California now with my family.
    Matthew Reece Johnston

  3. Di Andra Espinozaon 25 Mar 2010 at 2:13 am

    i am very excited that i found you! i am currently doing an assignment for my ap u.s history class called ‘The Wax Musuem’,and i am going to be you!we are required to find information on the person of our choice.i didnt have a person for along time that interested me enough…until my teacher showed me an article of you and other members of the “Flygirls”.i immediatly offered to be you so that nobody else would take your place. we have to find information such as your family tree,what interested you before your career as a pilot and as a child,what your historical importance was,a reasponse is also required and one from yourself would be very exciting. i also am required to dress as you in something similar to what you flew in. i am exicited for this assignment and if it’s not to much to ask i would be very happy if you could write me or possibly could attend the wax musuem.It will take place in Los Banos,California tentativly scheduled on May 1,2010 if it is not too much of an inconvience.thank you very much and i hope to see you at the wax musuem if you can make it.

    You are an inspiration to me and i look up to you:)

    Your Friend
    Di Andra Espinoza

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