Longtime Kinnelon resident was 92
Emily Kline, among a select group of patriotic women who flew military aircraft during World War II, died last Friday Dec. 14 . The former Kinnelon resident was 92.
"At first everybody thought we were a joke," Mrs. Kline said in a 2004 interview with the Star-Ledger. She was referring to the Women's Airforce cq one word Service Pilots, or WASPs.
"Eventually we earned the respect of the people who mattered: other pilots."
The volunteer WASPs there were 1,074 flew all types of planes for the Army Air Forces, filling in stateside for male pilots sent to combat. They are considered pioneers now but were treated as second-class at the time. The women stitched their own uniforms and paid their own way to training bases.
Mrs. Kline, then Emily Porter, learned to fly while working as a secretary for Sinclair Flying Service in Muskegon, Mich. She spent a good deal of her WASPs tenure as an engineering test pilot at an Army air base in Greenville, Miss., said Nancy Parrish, director of Wings Across America, a multimedia and digital history project devoted to the WASPs.
Parrish, whose mother, Deanie Parrish, served in Mississippi with Mrs. Kline, estimated that 200 to 230 members are still living.
The WASPs gained military veteran status in 1977 and were awarded Congressional Gold Medals in 2010 at the U.S. Capitol. Mrs. Kline attended the ceremony and displayed her medal in her living room.
"She was thrilled the WASPs had finally gotten recognition from the government," her son Thomas said.
Mrs. Kline lived in Kinnelon for 45 years and worked in her husband Charles' marketing consultant firm. Charles Kline died in 1992.
"At 82, when most people downsize, Mom decided to supersize, so she sold her home in Kinnelon and purchased a 100-acre farm in Frelinghuysen Township," her son said.
"In part, she was trying to get back to her roots she grew up on a farm but she liked the open space and tranquility of Warren County."
Mrs. Kline managed the production of hay but contracted out the heavy work.
She is survived by her children, Philip Kline of Downingtown, Pa., John Kline of Calgary, Alberta, Caroline Sassone of Easton, Pa., and Thomas Kline of Kinnelon; a brother, Daniel Porter, of Bayfield, Colo.; 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Visiting is today from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at M. John Scanlan Funeral Home, Pompton Plains. A memorial service will held Saturday at noon at Community Church of Smoke Rise, Kinnelon.
Scanlan Funeral Home
781 Newark Pompton Turnpike
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
Published in The Record on Dec. 20, 2012