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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Debbie Brown-Martin (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: July 24, 2005 01:00AM

Mr. Conner,

There are many people that will tell you that I have the exact personaity of my dad and yes I was a daddy's girl. I am a flight attendant for another airline since I left USAirways and the Jim Brown stories are alive and well here. My mother did not know of him knowing Neil Diamond. The guitar signed by Billy Grahmer is now in Zeck Saunders possision. I will never forget Piedmont and how much it meant to my father. I heard him say that he would have paid them to let him fly for them.

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Verne Crisp (---.dialup.mindspring.com)
Date: July 25, 2005 08:20PM

Jim Brown was THE most colorful person I ever met. He and I were the onle two single employees in ILM (then IMN) in 1957 and become friends.I have enough stories to write a book but here is a couple...Jim got in late one night and I was not working. I was staying in a rooming house on Red Cross Street. The main door was locked ,it was summer and my window...second floor was open. He threw a half brick through the screen to wake me. It hit me in the chest and left a small cut,but woke me up. I got up,dressed and went down to meet him. Didn t realize what had happened till the next day when I found the brick in my bed and checked to see why I had a pain in my chest . Another nite I was working and he was on a cacelled flight..stuck in CVG I think. He had left his car with a shade tree mechanic in ILM to have it worked on.WX forcast was for hard freeze and he remembered that he did not have any anti freeze in the radiator so he called me and asked me to go by and drain the radiator for him. I didnt get off til flight 8 rtan..about 0230 or 300am. I was under the car with a flash light and a pair of pliars when the mechanic braced me with a shot gun and had me come out. Seems he had been hit witha rash of parts thefts and thought he had captured the perpertrator!!!He called the cops and the one that responded was a friend of mine and Jims. We went back around back and he held the flash light while I opened the pet cock. Jim hought it was the funniest thing he ever heard of when he got back off his trip. I remember sitting in the doorway of the ABC store in ILM waiting for it to open. We wre not achoholics...we just loved to party!!I was 23 or 24 and fresh back from a four year Navy tour in Japan and Korea and Jim was bout the same age. His candle went out way to soon!!!!!Debbie...June says Hi.

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Verne Crisp (---.dialup.mindspring.com)
Date: July 25, 2005 08:27PM

Don
I am fairly sure that Bill Dolan was not the purser on the the first flight..check the sen-list ...I don t think he was working then. I worked with him in ILM in 1957/1958 I I have the impression he did not go back that far.Bill McGhee sounds more plausible .

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Verne Crisp (---.dialup.mindspring.com)
Date: July 26, 2005 03:21PM

Bob Reed has access to old records and researched this for us.
The purser who flew on the first flight was R L Watters. I went back through my stuff and found a picture of Egbert Davis Zeke Saunders,Bill McGee and Tom Davis standing at the aft passenger steps of a PAI aircraft,maybe a DC 3..I can t tell for sure. The caption identifies them as members of the original crew. The occasion was the 50th anniversary of the first flight from ILM and this picture appeared in the Winston Salem Journal. Attached to it I have a "we were wrong" article stating the four were officers of the former airline,not crew members on the first flight. This is why some of us thought McGee when the question came up.I guess this puts it to rest. It was good to see all these old familiar names.Peace be with you.

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Don Conner (---.bna.bellsouth.net)
Date: July 26, 2005 06:16PM

Vern,
Thanks so much for finding the answer to my original question. I'll bet this has fooled a whole lot of people. In all my years I never once heard the name R. L Watters. Wonder what ever happened to him? If he quit the company before I was hired in 1963, or what?
Also, thanks so much for the Jim Brown stories. I wish I could have known Jim better than I did. There are some people you meet in your journey through life that makes knowing them a real blessing. Jim was one of those people. Personally, the one flight crew member that I could write the most stories about would be, hands down, E.V. "Bill" Settle.
Please thank Bob Reed for researching the question of the purser on the first flight.

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Riley Carpenter (---.triad.res.rr.com)
Date: July 26, 2005 11:56PM

Don't forget purser Gene Johnson, and purser Fletcher Grubbs.

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Don Conner (---.bna.bellsouth.net)
Date: August 01, 2005 07:05PM

Well, interesting.... I have been sorting through material to use in writing my PI stories and I just ran across a copy of an ALSTA message regarding the first flight. This message was after we stopped time stamping receiving them, and the font style makes me think it was sent in the late 80's. Anyway, in their spare time CVGTR sent out a trivia question regarding PI's first flight. What I have a copy of is their answers to the questions Flt # 41 (return flt was #40), ILM-SOP-CLT-AVL-TRI-LEX-CVG, Feb. 20, 1948, DC-3. Pilots were: Leon Fox, Hoss Dobbins, and F/A Simpson. The message ends by saying "These answers were provided by Ed Laskowski, MCRRO, as he worked these flights when he had hair".

This conflicts with Bob Reed's answer regarding the purser on the first flight. I think I'm still gonna go with Bob's research, even through Ed worked the flights. Simpson may have worked the return flight, vice the first flight. Anyone ever hear of a purser named Simpson?

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Don Conner (---.bna.bellsouth.net)
Date: August 14, 2005 11:53PM

Genie,

Did you ever find that seniority list of F/a's? I would really, really like to have a copy. I am at the place in my writing currently where it would be extremely helpful.

Mail address: 118 Donmond Dr., Hendersonville, TN 37075

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Genie Ramsey Fisher (---.ec.res.rr.com)
Date: August 17, 2005 02:05PM

I FOUND IT!!! It isn't 1964 though, it's July, 1965...still an "oldie. It's on the way! Genie

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Don Conner (---.bna.bellsouth.net)
Date: August 18, 2005 01:51PM

Genie,
Wonderful! Thanks so very, very much. 1965 is fine.

I sure wish I could locate a pilot's senority list from the 60's. The only one I have is 1984 and so many of the crews who were working when I began my career had retired by then. Beverley Berkerley was #1 seniority capt. on the list from 1984. He was the crewman who probably taught me more than any other pilot. I searched my Piedmonters from 1964-1987 trying to find a picture of him, to no avail. Sure wish I had taken pictures of all the crews and agents I worked with in ROA back then. Hindsight is 20/20.

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Genie Ramsey Fisher (---.ec.res.rr.com)
Date: August 18, 2005 10:16PM

Maybe now that you've made your wish known, someone will turn up with one! Bev Berkely was one of my favorites too. So many of them were great. I'd love to see them all again and tell them what a pleasure it was. You're right, hindsight is 20/20.
Do you remember an agent named Tess...i think that was it. She was rumored to be having a "thing" with Bill Settle. I always wondered how that could be...I was scared to death of him! If there was such a thing as Bi polar back then, I'm sure he would have been diagnosed with it!!! Genie

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Don Conner (---.bna.bellsouth.net)
Date: August 18, 2005 10:36PM

Genie,
"Tess" was most likely Teresa Woznisky, who worked in ROA communications. For at least a year I was scared to death of her, but like happens many times, I learned more from her about airline operations than I did almost anyone else, and we became good friends, and I wound up loving to work with her on my shift. Funny how that works out sometimes. No, it was not Bill Settle she had a thing with.

And speaking of Bill, he is responsible for both my most embarrassing moment, and the most touching moment, of my entire career. He was, perhaps, a complex person to get to know, and he had a quite, fiery temper, BUT, I came to see the other side of Bill and I liked him a lot. An example of the "other side": My mother lived with us and died in our home in 1973. We were taking her body back to Virginia for burial and he was the captain on the flight. My mother would fly non-rev quite a bit and Bill knew her. The flight was full. My wife had to sit in the F/A jumpseat, and I sat on the J/S in the cockpit. Bill, not knowing Mom had died, turned and asked how I was doing. I said, "Not so good right now, my mother died and we are taking her body home on this flight for burial". Bill, this big, burly, bear of a man who could put the fear of God into anyone, broke down and sobbed. The F/O took over the first leg of flight.

Genie, I think you can help me immensly with my writing, especially right now, as I am working on the ROA years (12-1-63 to 1-15-68). I think I can possibly help you with something as well. E-mail me privately at:
djconner19@bellsouth.net

I also welcome anyone else familiar with the above time frame to e-mail me if you like.
don

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Debbie Brown-Martin (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: August 19, 2005 03:13PM

Vern,

Tell June I am now a FA for a Delta regional out of CVG and I am doing new hire on board trianing. What a hoot. Would dad not have a fit? Drop me a line and we will talk about old times and I miss you both.

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Verne Crisp (---.dialup.mindspring.com)
Date: August 20, 2005 01:42PM

Debbi
We have moved to the eastcoast not far from the outer banks and seldom see any of our old PAI friends. Our E Mail Address is fish4fun10@earthlink.net.Stay in touch. We wanted to go to the reunion dinner this year but it conflicts with my Ships reunion so I guess we will go to Norfolk this year.When you mentioned training it jogged my memory for another "Jim Brown Story" Classes for pilots were held at one time at the training center on Liberty Street.The classes "graduated " on Friday afternoon.There was a little formal thing and coffee afterwards and various people in the general office were encouraged to drop by and welcome the new guys.Fred Womack was usually in attendance. A group of us were leaving the building after the ceromony when we met your Dad coming in. Fred had one of the new guys in tow and started to introduce him to Jim but couldn t remember Jim s name!!He stated the new pilots name but was momentarily at a loss to come up with Jim s. Jim jumped right on it ...stuck out his hand ..grabbed the new guy and said "Im Captain Spaulding son,Im sure at some time you have played with my balls!!" Fred like to have passed out.

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Debbie Brown-Martin (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: August 21, 2005 08:19PM

Vern,

It is stories like these that keep me in stichtes. As well as you and June know I act just like him. I almost had mother talked into going to the reunion this year but we take my 2 grandchildren, yes I have 2 grandchildren on vacation. My email address is ijetus@aol.com and you both know that you can email me anytime. Buddy and Connie Counts said that my youngest granddaughter reminds them of dad. He would love them. We take them to his grave all the time and they refer to him as "Pawpaw Jim". and yes you can tell June I am gettng old. I recall the story of the time you two picked up the two women and thought you would impress them with the ILM hanger. Then it started to become daylight and dad had them get out of the car to check the tires and just drove off. I still laugh. I have such good memorie of everyone and especially of his retiement party and yes I have both yu and June in our photos.

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Bob Reed (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: November 07, 2005 09:01PM

Here’s a long over due answer to the question. I finally have confirmation that J. B.Simpson was the purser on the flight out of Wilmington on Feb. 20, 1948.

Recently, I brought home a box full of old newspaper clippings from the Piedmont Aviation Historical Society office to do some research on the sufject and I found a reproduction of an article that appeared in the Wilmington newspaper the day after the first flight. The article said the R. L. Watters was the purser. I asked Zeke Saunders about this and he said that J. B. Simpson was the purser. Bill McGee was slated to be the purser on the first flight; however, Bill was promoted to Sales Manager shortly beforehand and J. B. was his replacement.

Zeke Saunders suggested that I call Bill Taylor to confirm that J. B. Simpson was, in fact, the purser since he was related to Bill. So I called him and he did confirm the J. B. Simpson was the purser. He was Bill's brother-in-law and Bill got him the job. He left the company after about a year or two to go back home to Greenville, SC to take care of his mother and father. After his mother died, Bill tried to get him to come back with Piedmont but he had a good job with another company.

Piedmont wanted him to stay with the company since we had plans to make him Chief
Purser in Winston-Salem but he wanted to be with his family so he could look after them. He was about 19 years old when he was on the first flight. Bill said that is definitely him in the photo taking the ticket from Bill Turner, the first passenger. That photo will appear in the book "Flight of the Pacemaker." J. B. lives in Greenville, SC.

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Don Conner (---.bna.bellsouth.net)
Date: November 08, 2005 07:24PM

Bob,
Many thanks for clarifying this issue, and so thoroughly. It has been surprising to me over the years as to how many different answers you got to that question. A thousand thanks for setting the record straight.

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: donshanks (Moderator)
Date: November 19, 2005 03:17AM

Great stories, Don - don't go private, we'll miss all the memories.

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Carol Dobyns Fair (---.dhcp.kgpt.tn.charter.com)
Date: November 27, 2005 03:31AM

Where is Dick Sorrels? I need to know about him also. He hated female stewardess's. He was my supervisor in 1963 and tried to get me fired, but his wife called Piedmont looking for him around the end of 1963 and he had run off with a stewardess named Patty Waycaster. So much for hating us, I am still here, where is he and Patty?

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Re: Purser on 1st Flt
Posted by: Jim Daniel (---.hr.hr.cox.net)
Date: January 04, 2006 02:20AM

Enjoyed the stories about the first purser for Piedmont.. but how many people can remember the first female purser?? She was a station agent who was asked to continue a trip after the origiinal purser became unable to continue. Her name was Betty Christo, and she lives right around the corner from me here in ORF.
I was a purser from "51 to '55, based here. Good days, great memories, loads of fun, and terrific people to work with. Think about them everyday..Jim Daniel

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