Pancho Barnes

Pancho Barnes

Original Name Florence Loentine Lowe
Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death 29 Mar 1975 (aged 73)
Boron, Kern County, California, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered, Specifically: Her son Bill scattered her ashes out of an airplane over her ranch
Memorial ID 32134405 · View Source
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Aviation Pioneer. Born in San Marino, California, into the prominent Lowe family. Her grandfather, family scion Thaddeus Lowe, was appointed Chief Aeronaut of the Union Army Balloon Corps by President Lincoln during the Civil War and is considered the founding father of the United States Air Force. Under his tutelage, Barnes at an early age learnt horseback riding, camping and hunting along with the more genteel pursuits of dancing and needlework befitting a budding society lady. Despite her marriage in 1919 to Reverend C. Rankin Barnes, Florence eschewed the social strictures of her era to become a pioneer of women's aviation. Florence gained the moniker Pancho, a conflation of the name of Cervantes' character Sancho Panza, during an improbable stint as a gun-runner for Mexican revolutionaries. In 1930 Barnes broke Amelia Earhart's women's speed record in her "Mystery Ship," a Travel Air Model R sponsored by the Union Oil Company. After her marriage to the Reverend Barnes ended in divorce, Pancho founded the Happy Bottom Riding Club, a dude ranch and restaurant serving the test pilots from the adjacent Edwards Airforce Base in Southern California. It was in this role that she was immortalized in Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff. She died at home in Cantil, California.

Bio by: Richard Arthur Fenner

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Richard Arthur Fenner
  • Added: 12 Dec 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 32134405
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Pancho Barnes (14 Jul 1901–29 Mar 1975), Find a Grave Memorial no. 32134405, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered, who reports a Her son Bill scattered her ashes out of an airplane over her ranch.