Genevieve Landman Rausch, 99, passed away Dec. 9, 2015, at the VA Community Living Center in Lyons, N.J.
She was born Sept. 28, 1916, in Danville, to Isaac and Minna Landman. She grew up on Walnut Street and attended Roselawn School and Danville High School.
She was a reporter at the Commercial-News in the 1930s, and went on to be secretary-stenographer for the general staff of the Air Training Command at Chanute Air Force Base.
She was inspired to pursue a future in aviation after hearing Amelia Earhart speak in Danville.
She joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots of the U.S. Army Air Force, a pioneering organization of civilian female pilots. Out of 25,000 applicants, she was one of 1,074 to earn her wings, graduating in the class of 44-W-5.
She went on to fly all the training airplanes and B-26, B-17, and one flight in a B-29 bomber.
When the WASP was disbanded, she became one of the first aviation editors and writers for Fly Ways magazine published in New York City. As a WASP, she received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.
Returning to Danville, she married John T. Rausch, president of the W.A.S.H. Company, and resided on Wilkin Road. He died in 1975 after they had just moved to Florida.
She was the southern Illinois coordinator for UNICEF, and ran for Illinois state senate in 1952. A truly fine amateur golfer, she won championships at several golf courses and country clubs here and in Florida. Over her amateur golfing career, she had six holes in one.
She moved to Nokomis, Fla., in 1973 and lived there 30 years until moving to New Jersey to be near her nephew. She volunteered for Meals on Wheels in Sarasota County, Fla.
Survivors include her nephews, Robert S. (Caroline Hicks-Ellwood) Ellwood of Guilderland, N.Y., and John W. (Piego) Ellwood of Berkeley, Calif.; nieces, Sharron (Conrad) Plomin of Phoenix, Jean (Harold) Anderson of Branson, Mo., and Julie (Greg) Trisler Catlett of Fairmount, Ill., and Paia, Hawaii; several great-nephews and great-nieces.
She was preceded in death by sisters, Barbara Ellwood and Blanche Mary Trisler, and a brother, Louis Landman.
Memorial service was held in December at the Community Living Center in Lyons, N.J. Her remains were placed in her husband's mausoleum vault at Sunset Memorial Park on Aug. 1, 2016.
Published on August 1, 2016