Frances Caroline “Fran” <I>Gilbert</I> Johannessen

Frances Caroline “Fran” Gilbert Johannessen

Death 7 Jan 2013
Burial East Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 104160006 · View Source
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From the first time she saw a P-38, Fran Gilbert wanted to fly! While attending college on a music scholarship, she had the opportunity to take flying lessons. She earned her pilot's license from the Civil Air Patrol and, when she had enough hours, applied and was accepted for training as a member of class 44-W-4 of the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II. After completing the training in Sweetwater, Texas and earning her silver WASP wings, Frances was stationed at Merced Army Air Base in Merced, California.

There, she met the love of her life, John Norman Johannessen, also a pilot. After the war, they married and settled in Huntington, New York where they led an active life and produced three beloved children.

Fran (or Tex, as she was known to her friends there) played the violin in the Huntington Symphony Orchestra, participated in Cub Scouts as a Den Mother, painted in oils, and volunteered for Meals on Wheels. She worked for the Huntington School District. With her husband, she joined a bridge club, attended many functions at the Huntington Fire Department, and took up golf, which became the couple's favorite pastime.

When the US Congress awarded her and her WASP colleagues the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010, Fran said she did it just because she wanted to fly!

Following Norm's death, Fran moved to California to be near her sons, Jerry (Chris) in Novato and Bob (Carol) in El Sobrante. Daughter Jean Skerlong (Joel) lives in Mukilteo, Washington. Fran also leaves behind five grandsons, Erik, Sean, Michael, Jason and Carl, and one great granddaughter, Claire.

Her family will truly miss her kind smile, always-positive attitude, and exceedingly humble spirit.

Family Members


  • Created by: PerseidsGirl
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  • Find a Grave Memorial 104160006
  • Anne S
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Frances Caroline “Fran” Gilbert Johannessen (28 Oct 1920–7 Jan 2013), Find a Grave Memorial no. 104160006, citing Pinelawn Memorial Park, East Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York, USA ; Maintained by PerseidsGirl (contributor 47740091) .