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Kansas history: 1941 - 1971

An informal portrait of the "First Lady of Aviation," Olive Ann Beech, co-founder and President of Beech Aircraft Corp., standing by an airplane propeller. Beech was born and raised on a farm south of Waverly, Kansas. She attended business college in Wichita and worked for Travel Air Manufacturing Co. before marrying Walter H. Beech on Feb. 24, 1930. In 1932, they co-founded Beech Aircraft Corp. After her husband's death in 1950, Beech assumed the position of president of the corporation, and was named chairwoman emeritus after her retirement in 1982. She brought the company through fifty years of growth and from 10 employees to 10,000. Her honors include: Woman of the Year (1951), Kansan of the Year (1958) and nomination to the NASA Space Shuttle Study Committee (1971).


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