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Mon, Jan 24, 2005

Happy Birthday, Audrey Poberezny

Few people have been witness to as much sport aviation history as has Audrey Poberezny.

As one half of the amazing team that gave EAA its start (and, admittedly, the better looking half), Audrey Poberezny has been a steadfast partner to EAA Founder Paul Poberezny as he helped bring the world of personal aviation to more people than any single flyer we know. Audrey was a steadfast presence through tough times and good, and over the course of an extraordinary period of American history, was a constant, classy and pleasant personality who came to be every bit as much loved and respected as her husband.

Today is Audrey's 80th birthday... quite a milestone for anyone, and one that we're pleased to celebrate. Audrey Poberezny was born Audrey Ruesch in Milwaukee, Wis., on Jan. 24, 1925, the daughter of Tom and Lillian Ruesch. She was raised and attended school in the Milwaukee area.

May 28, 1944, she married Paul Poberezny, who she had met in high school and who was serving in the Army Air Corps at the time. When Paul returned home from his Korean War service in the early 1950s, he and other local aviation enthusiasts founded the Experimental Aircraft Association, with the first meeting held in January 1953.

Audrey and Paul were EAA's office staff in the early days, working out of a converted coal chute in their home's basement, as the organization grew from a local club for amateur aircraft builders into an international organization that embraces all of recreational sport aviation.

Audrey has done most of her work behind the scenes as EAA grew over its 50-plus years, but has been a constant presence and support for Paul and the organization.

In 1995, the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) presented Audrey with the Katharine Wright Memorial Award for service to the sport aviation movement and for playing an integral and continuing role in the founding and growth of EAA.

In 2003, Audrey was honored by Women in Aviation International as one of most 100 most influential women in aviation history, sharing the spotlight with the likes of Amelia Earhart, Marjorie Stinson, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and many others who helped blaze the trail for women to make aviation what it is today.

Paul and Audrey live in Oshkosh, Wis., and have two children -- Tom, president of EAA since 1989, and Bonnie, who lives in Oshkosh -- as well as two grandchildren.

From everyone at ANN and especially those of us who have come to SO respect and appreciate her work and presence, we wish Audrey the happiest of birthdays as well as our enduring gratitude for her having kept Paul 'in line' all these years.

FMI: www.eaa.org

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