Margaret J. Ringenberg

Death of Margaret J. Ringenberg

June 17, 1921 - July 28, 2008
Leo, Indiana | Age 87

Female flight pioneer and record setter, dies at 87


Following obituary provided by D.O. McComb & Sons Funeral Homes:

Margaret J. (Ray) Ringenberg, 87, died Monday, July 28, 2008 at Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, WI.

Born in Fort Wayne, she was a self-employed pilot and was was a WASP during World War II. She was a member of Grabill Missionary Church, The Ninety Nines, AOPA, Experimental Aircraft Association, Air Race Classic Association, Smith Field Association, the Senior Saints and was Speaker for NASA Distinguished Lecture Series.

Survivors include daughter, Marsha J. (Stephen H.) Wright of Leo, IN; son, Michael J. Ringenberg of Leo, IN; sister, Mary F. Thompson of Indianapolis, IN; grandchildren, Jonathan (Becky) Wright, Joseph (Jen) Wright, Joshua (Kelly) Wright, Jairus Wright & Jaala Joy Wright; great-grandsons, Isaac and Owen Wright. She was preceded in death by her husband, Morris J. Ringenberg.

Service is 10 a.m. Tuesday at Grabill Missionary Church, 13637 State Street, with visitation 1 hour prior. Rev. Bill Lepley officiating. Calling also 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at the Church. Arrangements by D.O. McComb & Sons Pine Valley Park Funeral Home, 1320 E. Dupont Rd. Entombment in Covington Memorial Gardens.

Memorials to Grabill Missionary or Senior Saints.

McComb & Sons Funeral Homes

Following obituary provided by The Associated Press:

OSHKOSH, Wis. - Margaret Ray Ringenberg, a World War II pilot from Indiana who continued to fly into her 80s, died Monday. She was 87.

Ringenberg, of Fort Wayne, Ind., died in Oshkosh, where she was attending an Experimental Aircraft Association event. Winnebago County Deputy Coroner Shelley Donner said Ringenberg died of natural causes.

Ringenberg ferried military planes across the country during World War II before serving as a flight instructor and competing in numerous air races, including an around-the-world race at age 72.

Her adventures earned her a chapter in Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation," a book documenting heroes of the World War II era.

Ringenberg got the bug to fly when she was 8 years old and a barnstorming pilot landed in a field near her family's farm in northeastern Indiana. After she graduated from high school, she was resigned to becoming a flight attendant _ thinking that was the only job on airplanes available for women.

During World War II, however, flight schools suffered a shortage of students as men were drafted. She was 19 when she flew solo the first time in 1941. Then she joined the Women's Air Force Service Pilots.

When the war wound down, she returned to the Fort Wayne area. She married banker Morris Ringenberg in 1946 and took a job answering phones at the airport. In the 1950s, she began racing and giving flying lessons.