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Wind Crest's Female Pilots Share Their Aviation Stories

May 14, 2013

HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO (May 14, 2013) -- The land on which Wind Crest retirement community sits in Highlands Ranch, Co, was once known as the Fly'n B, a cattle ranch renamed by its former owners John and Katie Bowen for their love of flying.  Today a new group of female pilots -- Ginny Shrader, Linda Horn, Kathy Kuehn-Stevens, and Irene Walitelo -- live on the site and are sharing their own aviation stories: 
Ginny Shrader grew up in Germantown, Pennsylvania, graduated from Temple University and got her first job  as an executive administrative assistant  at RCA.  She married her boss, Merald Shrader, and moved to California.  It seemed that Merald also came with an airplane so as a safety measure she got her pilot's license in 1992 in Leadville, Colorado, elevation 10,000 feet.  Merald says Ginny is the only pilot who never flew under that.  Between them they have 4,000 miles of flying  which includes family trips with their son, Robert, and daughter, Barbara, who say "mother worked for daddy and now daddy works for mother."  Ginny has loved every minute of flying in the co-pilot's seat of their Seminole twin airplane.  She has had no near misses  or nail-biting experiences, just an enjoyment of the special beauty of flying and the precious memories of it.
Linda Horn's husband's best friend learned to fly and that was pressure enough for her husband to also learn to fly.  Linda soon decided that she needed to know how to fly the plane as well even if only for the safety of knowing how to land the plane in case of an emergency.  They had no children so they flew for the fun of it, making several trips before they divorced.  She got the plane but it was destroyed in a windstorm.  Linda never lost her love of flying into the wild blue yonder.  She loved to go places and flying got her there quicker.  It was always fun, something she looked forward to, and the scenery was beautiful, she says.
Kathy Kuehn-Stevens in 1950 decided if her three older brothers could fly airplanes, then she could, too. She grew up on an Indiana farm. Her uncle was a pilot and had a Piper Cub and she worked for him.  She started flying during her first year of college when her uncle instructed her at a small airport  which had no tower and a number of hazards,  one of which was a gravel pit into which  she once plowed the plane.  She moved to Colorado where she met her future husband.  She took him for an airplane ride and then eventually married him. She would work late as a car hop and then would fly at sunrise, which was a beautiful experience.  In 1960 they moved to Denver.
Irene Walitelo grew up in Kansas and like the Wizard of Oz's Dorothy -- that other Kansas girl --  she flew over the rainbow and found her dream. When she was 25 years old she married Jack Munson, whose hobby was flying.  Since her family had moved to Denver she decided they should buy a plane so they could visit them often.  She and her husband bought a Tri-pacer Cub and decided to get involved in the Civil Air Patrol.  She got her pilot's license then and they adopted a three-day old girl.  Sadly both the girl and Jack were killed in separate auto accidents.  Irene was broken-hearted and moved to Denver to be with her family. Here she met Edsel Walitelo and they were married.  Edsel had two adopted children. Her dream and her family are one.
The sky's the limit to most people, but not to these retired female pilots. They still chase new horizons.