Ellen Church born in Cresco, Iowa on September 22, 1904, Church was a pilot and a nurse. Boeing Air Transit (the predecessor to United Airlines) wouldn't hire her as a pilot, but did take her suggestion to hire nurses as stewardesses in order to calm passengers' fear of flight. She believed that a flight attendant would help convince people that flying is safe. Church was hired in 1930 as head stewardess and was put in charge of hiring.
During World War II Church served with the Army Nurse Corps as a flight nurse, earning an Air Medal. She moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, where she became director of nursing at Union Hospital.
In 1964, she married Leonard Briggs Marshall, president of the Terre Haute First National Bank. She died in 1965 from injuries resulting from a horse riding accident. The municipal airport serving Cresco is named Ellen Church Field (KCJJ) in her honor.
Ellen Church (right)