Betty Riddle passed from this life on the 8th day of June in the year of our Lord 2012. She was 88 years old.
The daughter of Clarence and Goldie Mae Martin, was born in Wetumka, Oklahoma December 23, 1923. As a young girl Betty was raised around the aviation industry. This quickly led to her love for flying. She soon was taking flying lessons, which led to her flying airplanes before she could drive a car. After graduating from Wetumka High School she enrolled in a Civilian Pilot Training program at a local Junior College. This led to a job working at the airport on weekends. there she med her local Oklahoma Senator. He told her about the Women Air Force Service Pilots, otherwise known as the W.A.S.P. It was a program set up by congress and the military to train women pilots to fly military aircraft in non-combat roles. She applied to the program and was accepted to training class 44-W9. After Training , she was assigned to Altus Air Force Base in Altus, Oklahoma. She worked as an Engineering Test Pilot for the Air Force’s UC-78 Aircraft. The Allies were proceeding quickly to a victory over the Axis powers and the W.A.S.P program was deactivated shortly thereafter. After deactivation, she went to work for Douglas Aircraft Corporation as an inspector for A-26 tail sections. Later she moved to Texas and flew all over South Texas flying cross-country training and charter flights as well as Instructing student pilots. Betty moved back to Oklahoma and went to work for the local Junior College. It was there that she met a fellow flight instructor named Howard Riddle and they were married on 11/18/47. They moved and worked in Rockford, Illinois for 30 years. During her time there, she maintained her flight ratings, flew as co-pilot, and rented planes for family vacations. Although she absolutely loved flying, and anything to do with airplanes, she also had many other interests, including; golf, water skiing, art, music, ceramics, painting, cake decorating, knitting, sewing and playing bridge. Betty became very active in several aviation organizations. She served as District Director for the W.A.S.P and worked in the “stores” part of that organization as well. She worked with the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Confederate Air Force, the Bi-Plane Association, the Antique Aircraft Association, and was a life member of the women’s flying organization known as the 99’s. She was also a member of the Order of Dandelions, Which is America’s Premier Fraternal Organization of Military Pilots. This all kept her very busy.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Howard, and her brother Johnny Martin.
Survivors include her brother, Jack Martin and his wife Betty, of Mannford, Oklahoma, daughter, Susan Hilton of Owasso, OK with her husband James, and her two sons and daughters-in-law, Steven Riddle of Talala, OK, his wife Glenda, and Dan Riddle of Gunter, TX, and his wife Sheila; grandchildren, Kimberly Paul, PHD, Kelly Tate, Justin Riddle, Mark Riddle, Adam Riddle and James Riddle;great-grandchildren, Kolten and Kaden Bell and one more on the way; step-son, Eugene Riddle, and wife Susan; step-grandchildren, Dawn Malaker and Morgan Riddle, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.