Lansing, Michigan – Marion “Babe” Weyant Ruth laid her life, paving the way for other women who shared her passion for flying high above the clouds. Her achievements and legacy are part of the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame and Air Zoo.
By all accounts, Ruth lived and breathed aviation.
Born in Lansing in 1918, Ruth lived near Lansing Airport and spent her free time watching the arrivals and departures of aircraft.
As a child, she wrote to her idol Amelia Earhart about her passion.
Earhart wrote in response, encouraging the novice pilot to keep the course and pursue his dream.
“She definitely didn’t let the obstacles keep her from dreaming. She got her pilot’s license at age 19 and started flying at 16. What she was able to pay for a license was that she set up a soda kiosk at the airport, ”said Christy Kincaid of Air Zoo Aerospace & Museum of Science.
This was the beginning of Ruth’s professional aviation career, but it was certainly not the end.
She received her first license at the age of 19, becoming the youngest in the country to have this mark.
At some point after her marriage she decided to adopt the nickname Babe Ruth.
“When she married Dale Ruth, she took the name Babe Ruth. So that’s where the name Babe Ruth came from. I don’t know, maybe she thought it was funny that she was named after one of the most famous baseball players in our country, “Kincaid said.
Ruth became a flight instructor during World War II.
She was one of five women who worked in that capacity during the conflict.
Ruth continued to fly, teach and help Lansing Public College students climb to higher altitudes with the help of aviation.
Today there is a public room in the capital’s international airport, named after her, where she once looked at the sky when she was a little girl and dreamed of flying.
Babe Ruth is a recipient of the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, but she has been honored by many other organizations for her contributions to aviation.
She died in 2004 at the age of 86.
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