February 17, 1917 - April 15, 2008
WASP Evelyn Stewart Jackson was born February 17, 1917 on a ranch in Globe, Arizona, 80 miles east of Phoenix. Her childhood was filled with great adventures, riding horses and helping her dad tend the cattle. Since there was no running water, she would water the horses by hauling buckets from the spring. For all the hard work, there were fun jobs, roundups, rodeos and chuck wagons--just like in the movies.
Always interested in flying, she signed up to be a part of the CPT program in Globe. After completing the program, she received her private pilot license. Evelyn also attended the Desert Parachute School in Phoenix, and received her rigger's license and for a time, was employed as a parachute packer at Arizona Gliding Academy at Wickenburg, Arizona.
In 1943, she applied and was accepted for training into the WASP class of 43-W-6 and graduated, earning her silver wings October 9, 1943.
She was stationed at Enid Army Air Base, Enid, Oklahoma, a basic training base for Army Air Force cadets. At Enid, she flew basic trainers (BT-13, BT-15) as an engineering test and utility pilot.
After the WASP were deactivated, Evelyn married Frank Jackson, a ranch manager in Arizona. She enjoyed working with him and never lost her love of horses or the outdoors.
Evelyn continued to live in the home she shared with Frank after he passed away in 1984.
In November of 2001, Wings Across America traveled to Apache Junction, Arizona, where the City Manager loaned us her office in the Chamber of Commerce building. It was there we met and interviewed Evelyn, who, like many WASP, lived a private life, never boasting about her time serving her country. What a delightful experience it was to introduce the only WASP in town to the President of the Chamber of Commerce. All the city employees came out to meet Evelyn and shake her hand.
As the interview began, Evelyn gently opened the scrapbook filled with her memories of horses, flying, friends, parachutes and roundups. Even though she appeared almost frail, we soon learned of her aerobics, yoga, Tai Chi and her belly dancing classes.
On that special day in November, it was an honor to spend time with this lovely and quiet lady--and I don't think she would mind at all if I add--this lady pilot--this cowgirl.
submitted by Nancy Parrish, April 18, 2008
Evelyn passed away on April 15, 2008. Information on services will be posted as it becomes available.