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Fred Bert Churchill and Betty Jane Frank Taylor Churchill

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1914 - From a notebook probably written by Fred's mother, Stella Peden Churchill:
Called doctor about 11 am.
Fred Bert Churchill, born Feb 12, Thurs, 1914 at about 3 o'clock PM. Dr. R.O.Crawford.
Mrs Johannes and Mrs Lizzie Elliott. Weight between 9 1/2 and 10 lbs. net.
Dr. Crawford called Dr Royston - $10.00 Apr 13/14.
Forceps slipped five times. Paid Dr. C. $25.00.
First visitors Mrs. Isasc Martin, Mrs. Crabtree and Mrs Phillips. Gertrude Johannes Bates sent first present - pair hand emb. shoes.
Next weight 11 lbs net. 2nd weight Sun. Apr 5
13 3/8 net. First visit Mrs Johannes, Mrs Crabtree Mrs. Martin.
Apr 12 - Easter Sun. weighed 14 lbs.
May 12 weighed 16 5/16.

Sun June 14 went out 4 1/2 mi to Martin Lee's.
June 15 met J. Eads How "Millionaire
Hobo" "King of the Hoboes" etc.
July 12 - 5 months old. weighs 16 7/16 lbs.
Sun Aug 9 Dad left for Hunter, Mo.
Wed Aug 12 weigh 17 5/8 6 mo old.
Sept 12 - 7 mo weighs 18 pounds
Oct 12/14 weighs 18 1/2 lbs
21st - 1st tooth in lower jaw. In a few days another beside the first.
Nov 12 weighs 19 lbs. Crawls
10 months weighs 20 5/8.
Pulls up to chairs, "Patty cakes". Has his hair bobbed.
Sun Jan 3 called Dr. Hill. He said Fred was threatened with pneumonia. Stella sat up Sun, Mon and Tues nights giving medicine. Tues Dr came again.
11 months old weighs 20 lbs. Second day sick Billee asked if he wanted her to take him and he shook his head no. After he gets well, takes up waving bye-bye.
Jan 14  two upper front teeth are thru saving them from being lanced as were festered.
Feb 12-15 weighs 21 lbs 2ft 4in high
Feb 21 another tooth thru. Right upper by front.
Mar 2, took 1st step alone.

1914 Fred Bert Churchill
Fred and his sister Billee on the front porch of their house in El Dorado Springs, Mo

Fred's first mail.
This an example of the stuff that was saved by their mother, Stella. I can't find any date on it but I would guess around 1915. A note on the back says its from J.C. Dill, Jr. The Dill family was pretty close to the Churchills in El Dorado Springs. I've found many photos of people identified as Dill's.
Betty Jane Frank maybe 1 year old in 1921
1923-24 Betty Jane Frank

Betty Frank, Undated. Her Dad nicknamed her Putsy. Born in 1920 so this might be 1925.
May 1931 Betty Frank and family and relatives. Written on back: 10927 Grantwood Ave, Cleveland Ohio.
Fred Churchill and his sister Billee. Probably taken in El Dorado Springs, MO.

Another picture of Fred and his sister Billee on the front porch of their house in El Dorado Springs, Mo Fred Churchill taken at the house in El Dorado Springs, Mo. He appears to be in the same suit as in his graduation picture just below.

 Fred graduated from El Dorado Springs High School on 5 May 1933. Betty Jane Frank
Frank Churchill and son Fred Fred's first motorcycle - El Dorado Springs, MO

1935 Fred Churchill - Swift Produce Truck in front of his home  606 So.Kirkpatrick, El Dorado Springs, MO. Fred's first job out of high school was at Guy's Sandwich Shop, "The Home of Good Eats", G.T. Gillespie, Prop., in El Dorado Springs. As a young man, Fred worked for the MKT (Missouri-Kansas-Texas) Railroad for a short time and for Swift & Co. Fred started at Swift & Co. in El Dorado Springs but later became the manager of the office in Fort Scott, KS (about 1935).

From a newspaper clipping dated Oct 2 1936 : Fred Churchill, formerly of Fort Scott, is now driving a  truck for a meat packing campany in Kansas City. He plans to return to Fort Scott early in the Spring.

From an undated newspaper clipping, probably from the El Dorado Springs Sun:

Fred Churchill of Ft. Scott, Kansas, and Miss Delphia Fain of  southeast of El Dorado Springs, were united in marriage February 23. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Fain of this vicinity and is a graduate of the El Dorado Springs High School. For the past two or three years, she has been engaged in teaching rural schools in this county. The groom, the son of Mr. and Mrs. F.B. Churchill, is a former El Dorado boy, but has been manager of the Swift & Co. wholesale house at Fort Scott for the past year. They will make their home in Fort Scott.

Fred and Delpha divorced at some point. This must be her 1933 high school graduation photo. Its from Myers Studio in El Dorado Springs. I found another newspaper clipping where Delpha Fain Whitesitt was a semi-finalist from Montana in the 1957 Mrs. America contest.

Delpha married Harold Whitesitt in Stevensville, MT on 19 Jul 1937. She was born Dec. 17, 1913, to John Marion and Bessie Ethel (James) Fain in El Dorado Springs, Mo. Delpha died in 2003 at the age of 89y in Montana.

I found her SSDI death record a few years after she died. I wrote several letters to possible relatives in Montana. I received this email:

Date:            Tue, 29 Nov 2005 11:12:04 -0700
From:            dean whitesitt 
Subject:         Delpha Fain Whitesitt


Delpha Fain is my mother. She came to Montana after the divorce to see members of the family that lived here.  Here she met and married my father Harold C. Whitesitt.  They lived in Stevensville, Montana until their deaths. We have little infomation of the marriage to Fred so this would be very interesting.

After the divorce (from Fred) she came to Montana to visit an Aunt, which would have been in 1936 or 37, and at that time met my father Harold. There was an immediate attraction and they were married in July of 1937.

Mom was a very talented lady.  She was an excellant semstress, entering in numerous dress making contests up through the National level and placed regularly.  It was through that that she entered the Mrs. Montana contest. She was an active Eastern Star member and went through the local chairs and on to the State level and was Grand Worthy Matron for State of  Montana. She was active in the funeral business with my Father and was a licensed Funeral Director.  After they retired, due to my Fathers health, (he had open heart surgery), they traveled to Arizona for about 15 winters. They then decided to stay at home in Stevensville during the winters.  Dad helped me in the funeral business until he was 89.  He died on Jan.3, 2001. Mom continued to live in her home until she died in April 24, 2003.

Mom also enjoyed horse back riding which was always a big part of my fathers life and they were Charter members of the St. Mary's Saddle Club in Stevensville. While in Arizona in the winter she learned to paint and did some beautiful pictures.  She did a lot of  knitting over the years making all sorts of things from simple to beautiful sweaters.

In her early years she attended Warrensburg State Teachers' College in elementary education and taught for 2 years while in El Dorado Springs.

Dean Whitesitt

I've sent the photos of Dean's mother to him.
There was this picture, signed "Love to Fred, Dotty". Then I found a clipping "Hemet Girl Picks Waves; Third in Family to Serve" about Dorothy Loraine Lorenz from Hemet, CA. She was employed in a secretarial position at the Ryan School of Aeronautics in Hemet. She is the daughter of Lawrence Lorenz of Hemet and attended school in Ludington, MI. I've also found clippings from the Ryan AirNews where she wrote a column "The Upkeep Lowdown" about the maintenance department at the Ryan Air School in Hemet.

I received this email:

Date:            Mon, 08 Aug 2005 03:03:11 -0400
From:            Rachael Barlow
Subject:         my grandmother is on your site!

I just came upon your site because I couldn't believe it when I saw a picture of MY GRANDMOTHER!! Dorothy Loraine Lorenz...the beauty in the green hat. She was my grandmother, and she was beautiful, and I was just thinking about her so I googled her name and there she was!
I don't know how old your site is, or when you put that picture on there, but it was so nice to see it...I hope you get this email.

~ Rachael

I have sent the original of this photo to Rachael.

Fred and group of co-workers at Ryan Aeronautical. Fred is knelling on the right. Photo was not dated.
Fred worked at the Ryan School of Aeronautics in Hemet, CA during the Second World War. He transfered to San Diego after the school closed in 1945.

I received this email:

Date:            Mon, 24 Apr 2006 15:33:03 -0600
From:            "Sly, Edward A" 
Subject:         Ryan Aeronautical

My name is Ed Sly, my father is the Ed Sly in the photo of Fred Churchill "kneeling" with the plane in the background.  In fact my father has his hand on Fred's shoulder.  My father worked at Ryan for 51+ years and Passed away last Monday April 17th 2006.  I am just doing research on Ryan and found this site and photo.  I know that my father knew Fred Churchill, in fact I believe I have seen the same photo at my parents house.

Sincerely Yours
Ed Sly 

During the war, Fred was officially in the US Army Air Corps Enlisted Reserve Unassigned for the duration of the war, he worked at the Ryan School of Aeronautics where pilots were trained. He was inducted on 13 July 1943 and separated 10 March 1945. Marital status was divorced. He was a private.

In Sept 1942, Fred won a "Popularity Contest" as the man whose picture would be used by the Ryan Company in a national advertising campaign. This was when Fred was with the Ryan School of Aeronautics in Hemet, CA.
Fred Churchill as a young man. This photo was used in the December 1944 issue of Ryan SkyNews. In it was an article about Fred. Here is part of it:
Thumbnail Sketch  --
  Fred Churchill
    by Harry Hofmann

Above, boys and girls, is a reasonable facsimile of "Glamour Puss" Frederick Bert Churchill, assistant maintenance supervisor, who not only models for Ryan ads, but also turns out a heck of a lot of work for his company.

Freddie has been with Ryan since 1940.

Born and educated in El Dorado Springs, Missouri, Freddie messed around with mechanics, went to work for Swift & Co., and was later transferred to Kansas by the company. California beckoned, however, and out to San Diego came our hero, where he worked at a variety of jobs. Although, he says all he did in San Diego was swim and ride motorcycles, he must have done a few other things, in order to get the mechanical background he has.

Freddie is unmarried, girls .  .  .  but he's wary and cagey.
It's nice to work with Freddie .  .  .  just another swell guy, working for and with a swell company.

The comment about modeling for Ryan ads is because of Fred's winning the Ryan "Popularity Contest" in 1942. This was when Fred was still with the Ryan School of Aeronautics in Hemet, CA.
Betty Frank as a teenager. Undated.

From report cards that I found:

Betty attended grade school in Dallas, TX. James Bowie School (1928-9 3rd) and Washington school in Mt. Lebanon, Pittsburgh, PA (1931-32 6th), Roxboro Junior High School (1932-34 7th and 8th), San Francisco Junior High School (1934-35 9th), San Francisco Poly High School (1935-6 10th), and Highland Park High School. Dallas. Texas (1936-7 11th). She graduated from Highland Park High School on 19 Jul 1937.

Betty was a member of the Omega Alpha Omega high school sorority. From an undated (about 1998) article from the Dallas Morning News "Sisters Forever; After 63 years, Dallas high school sorority members reunite". Betty was a member of OAO, as was Nell Westmorland (see next few photos).

Betty Jane Frank was first married to John Ledbetter "Jack" Taylor. They were married on 30 Mar 1941 in Yuma, AZ. This photo was probably taken the same time as the next photo which is dated 13 Mar 1942. John was born 20 Nov 1919. I believe he was originally from Indianapolis, IN (or that is just were he was going to college - Purdue) as I've found a student pilot license dated Nov 1941 with an address there. There is more on his web page.
Friday 13 March 1942, Betty and Nell. Nell was Betty's best friend when she lived in Dallas. We talked with Nell Vaughn Westmoreland several times and sent her some photos in 2008. He heard from Nell's son, Harby, that she died on 18 Dec 2011.

Mrs. John L. Taylor has been notified by the War Department that her husband was killed in an aircraft accident at Pearl Harbor, July 8. He had been overseas since January. Lieutenant Taylor was a fighter pilot. He attended Purdue University prior to entering the service, held a commercial pilot's license, and had flown over 1,100 hours.

1949 Betty Jane Frank and her mother Ruth Korabek Frank
1946 Betty Frank Taylor and her parents  Harry Allen Frank and Ruth Winifred Korabek in San Diego.
Accompanied by an undated letter from The L. Raymond Company, 1151 South Broadway  Los Angeles:

July 27th
Miss Betty Jane Frank
2511 Polk Avenue
San Diego, California

Dear Miss Betty:

Enclosed is one of the photographs for which you so kindly posed at the California Gift and Art Show. Probably you have seen the others in the various papers in which they appeared.

May I express our appreciation for your co-operation in posing for these pictures.

Very truly yours,
Larry Raymond
1946 Frank Residence at 3405 Ingraham St, San Diego, CA 1945 Aerial of Crown Point by Howard Rozelle. Betty's house with her parents is at right center. Fred's house with his parents is at upper left.
 circa 1950 Fred and Betty Churchill at the side of their house in San Diego, CA.
In the few years before she married Fred, from about 1946 to 1950, Betty was quite the inventor. I have dozens of letters where she pitched her inventions to companies such as Morton Salt.

I've found invention disclosures for:
a tooth brush
a phone dial
coffee blots
salt bags
wall protector
inspection stamp
varigated typewriter ribbon
coat hanger
improved hair pin
This is the most interesting. It was handwritten in a certified letter that Betty had sent to herself (it was no longer sealed):

Nov 29, 1946
This idea as explained below is my own thought and conception:
A system to send all coding such as the International Morse Code by means of striking letters on a machine similar to a typewriter which in turn automatically records and transmits the code electronically, or by any other system. Also a method for the automatic decoding and recording of messages, etc., by the same or similar process.
Betty Frank Taylor

Betty's idea had to await the invention of the computer. This method is in common use today.
Fred and his wife Betty Churchill. They were married on 14 Oct 1950. This picture was dated September 1951.
Fred had a 1953 Cadillac that I've been told he really loved. I can't find a picture of it though. I've found repair recepts dated 1963.

After that, he owned in 1962 Cadillac Calle Coupe (62G120559). That Caddy was sold in 1978.
Betty Churchill at her desk at Ryan Aeronautical, San Diego A later photo of Betty Churchill at her desk at Ryan Aeronautical, San Diego
From a San Diego Evening Tribune article dated 2 Sep 1954:

THEY'RE READY -- These comely San Diego water skiiers are lined up and ready to go in Pacific Coast Water Ski Championships which will be held over a course off Gleason Point in Mission Bay Saturday through Monday. From left to right are Betty Churchill, Evelyn Largent, Joanne Smith, Jinx Main, Connie Melhorn, Barbara Jones and Tahnee Land.

Includes a picture of each woman. I don't know who won.
Betty Churchill - Boater - The boat is a 1951 16 ft mahogany hull inboard Chris Craft.

Betty Churchill at left, Fred in their wooden boat. I'm guessing this is the 1960's.
Look at those muscles on Betty!!!!
(I've found other pictures of Fred and Betty with the boat dated 1961.)
They sold the boat in 1983.
Fred and Betty Churchill - undated
From Ryan AeroNews 7 July 1957 "Methods Engineering Functions Realigned". Describes a new department and promotions in that department. Fred Churchill is in the middle row, second from the left (with the bow-tie).
Undated photo. T. Claude Ryan and Fred B. Churchill. Someone must have told a good joke.

Undated photo of Betty and Fred in their sailboat. Its a 1958 model, 15 ft. Snipe.
They may have bought it as early as 1965. They sold it in 1985 after the mast was stolen.
Betty Churchill and Billee Clark, Dec 1985 1980's ca  Fred and Betty Churchill

For most of his adult life, Fred worked for and retired from Ryan Aeronautical in Hemet and San Diego. Likewise, Betty worked for Ryan in San Diego. From Ryan AeroNews dated 5 Jan 1968:
Three Longtime Employees Close Out Ryan Careers at Year's End
The year's end closed out the Ryan careers of three longtime employees - Dorothy Maple, secretary to T. Claude Ryan, Board Chairman; Betty Churchill, secretary to William Wagner, Vice President-Public Relations, and her husband, Fred Churchill, administrative accountant, Cost Accounting.

Fred Churchill joined the Ryan School of Aeronautics Army Air Corps pilot training program in Hemet in 1940 as a mechanic, advancing to maintenance supervisor. After World War II, he was assigned to flight service duties in the San Diego plant, and later was the official Federal Aviation Agency representative for the Ryan Navion production program.
In recent years Churchill served as an industrial engineer and an engineering planner until his assignment as an administrative accountant.

Mrs. Churchill's Ryan employment dates back to a brief period in 1940, when she was secretary to the company controller. She returned to Ryan in 1946 as secretary to the late Earl D. Prudden, Vice President, and later was in charge of training and recreation in Employee Activities, and secretary to Ed Uhl, former Vice President Operations before her assignment as secretary to Wagner.

In a letter from Earl Prudden to Fred, postmarked Oct 3 1954, Earl sent a clipping from the The Hemet News (Sept 18,1942) with Fred's picture on the front page when he won the Ryan "Popularity Contest". Earl noted "and all this without the benefit of water skis, a motorboat or a Cadillac!".

Fred Churchill, Betty Churchill and Billee Churchill

 I found their 1981 Christmas Letter:
Much as we regret having to send a reproduced Christmas letter, we must do it this year.

We had a lovely year, enjoying our life and friends in San Diego, plus a trip to Prescott to visit Fred's sister, a trip to the desert with our trailer and a great weekend in Ventura with Betty and Glenn Schwalm.

On November 10, our little corner of the world fell apart when we were at a restaurant with friends where Fred blacked out and became violently ill. He was rushed to the hospital by paramedics and, after his heart had stopped nine or ten times, a temporary pacemaker was inserted at 12:30am. After a week in intensive care, another week in the coronary care unit, an angiogram, a treadmill test, x-rays, etc., etc., he was released on November 25 after a permanent pacemaker had been implanted. They still don't know why his heart stops but the pacemaker is an emergency backup that takes over whenever his heart beats less than 50 beats per minute.

The tests also revealed that he had a myocardial infarction about two weeks before he entered the hospital, without realizing it at the time, although he had been ill on October 30, but had no chest pain. He seemed to be recuperating well when he developed horrible pain with labored breathing at 5:30am, a week after he had returned home. Paramedics rushed him back to the hospital where it was determined that he has a pulmonary embolism. He is still in the hospital on blood thinning medication to dissolve the clot. Don't know how long he will be there - just that it apparently is a slow process. He is feeling better now and the pain has eased somewhat but we surely could have done without this setback. I spend as much time as I can at the hospital and now that he is able to talk on the phone it makes it a little easier.

Needless to say, we are looking forward to next year with hope that things will be much better.

We hope you have a had a good year, wish you happy holidays and best of everything in 1982.

From a 1998 letter to a friend:
Fred has had a bad year healthwise. He has had a pacemaker since 1981. In 1989, Medtronic (the manufacturer) had a recall on the pacemaker and the lead, and had to put in a new pacemaker and lead. In Jan of 1995, another failed and they put in another lead. Soon after that, he began to get infections in his pacemaker pocket and the doctors decided they would have to remove the pacemaker and the two leads. There is only one doctor in S.D. who does this surgery. He does it by laser and it completely vaporizes the leads and the connections in the heart wall -- while it is still beating! So far, he is doing quite well although he no longer has a pacemaker backup. If he were as active as you, he would have to risk putting in another pacemaker.
Fred's heart finally gave out and he died on his 86th birthday, Feb 12, 2000.

After battling Alzheimer's disease, Betty died on 29 Dec 2008 at the age of 88.

CHURCHILL, BETTY JANE Betty was born March 29, 1920, in Cleveland, Ohio, the only child of Harry and Ruth Frank. She passed away at the age of 88 on December 29, 2008, at Sunrise of La Jolla, after many years of Alzheimer's. She is predeceased by her first husband, John Taylor, in 1944, from an airplane accident during World War II, and her second husband of 50 years, Fred B. Churchill, in February of 2000. She and Fred both worked for Ryan Aeronautical in San Diego; Betty as executive secretary to different Vice Presidents until she retired in 1968. They lived in the Crown Point area of Pacific Beach on Ingraham Street their whole married life, owned a boat, and enjoyed water sports. Betty competed in the Pacific Coast Water Ski Championships in 1954. Betty and Fred loved cats and dogs, having many over the years, Muppet being her final companion. A special thank you to Betty and Mel Hermanson and Sally DiVecchio and all of Betty's caregivers for her care in her final years. You may see more photos and read more about Betty and Fred at .

As I mentioned on the Peden home page, Fred and Betty left no children or close relatives.

All of Fred's memoriabilia from his years at Ryan were donated to the San Diego Aerospace Museum which now  has a special research area dedicated to Fred.

Fred and Betty loved animals. They willed a portion of their estate to the San Diego Zoo. Commenorative plaque at the Zoo:

Subject:    Website
Date:    Sat, 10 Nov 2007 07:46:34 -0800
From:    "Feldman, Don"
To:    <>

I came across your history of this man while looking for something else. All I can say is thanks for posting this and not letting this man go unforgotten. I think everyone in the world should have such a place on the internet to keep their history alive.
Good Job.
Don Feldman

This site prepared and maintained by Mark DiVecchio

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