2:00 p.m. Sunday, April 2, 2017
Sharpie: Nebraska's Queen of the Air"

The Betty Strong Encounter Center will present “Sharpie: Nebraska’s Queen of the Air” with author Diane Bartels at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 2. Admission will be free; a reception will follow.

In her illustrated program, Bartels will explore the extraordinary life of aviatrix Evelyn Sharp who became a hero during World War II.

Nicknamed “Sharpie,” the Ord, Neb., resident learned to fly at 16, earned her commercial pilot’s license at 18 and purchased her first airplane as a teen-ager. She instructed more than 350 male pilots.

Sharpie was among the first women to ferry U.S. Army Air Force fighters during World War II. She was one of the original Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) pilots who ultimately became the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

Sharpie was killed on April 3, 1944, in Cumberland County, Pa., when her P-38 Lightning lost an engine on takeoff and crashed.  She was buried in Ord. In 1992, she was inducted into the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame.

 “Sharpie” was born on Oct. 20, 1919, in Melstone, Mont. At 2 months, she was adopted by John and Mary Sharp. In 1924, the Sharps moved to Ord where they operated a bar with a cafe and rented out rooms. In lieu of paying rent, a boarder gave Sharpie flying lessons.

Bartels is the author of “Sharpie: The Life Story of Evelyn Sharp, Nebraska’s Aviatrix.” A lifelong Nebraskan, Bartels earned her pilot certificate in 1966 and committed herself to aerospace education and the preservation of Nebraska’s rich aviation heritage.

In 1991, Bartels was recognized as Nebraska’s Teacher-Scholar by the National Endowment for the Humanities. A member of several aviation organizations, she has been published in journals and periodicals and has presented at national conferences. She served as principal consultant for the NETV documentary film “Sharpie: Born to Fly.”