Mary Koth McCabe
March 25, 1919 – May 21, 2005
Class: 44-W-1
Training Location: Avenger Field (Sweetwater, Tex.)
Assigned Bases: Pecos Army Air Base (Tex.), Luke Field (Goodyear, Ariz.), Bryan Army Air Base (Tex.) and Kingman Army Air Base (Kingman, Az.)
Planes flown: PT-19, BT-13, AT-6, UC-78, AT-17, B-26

Mary was born March 25, 1919, to William and Catherine Cunningham Koth in a cabin in Liberty Lake, Wash.

“She went to a school with four children, one of whom was her brother,” said her daughter, Kathy Lorenz-McCabe, of Hansville, Wash.

Her family settled in Spokane, Wash., during the Great Depression. Her dad was a logger, but no one was buying logs and her mom ran a boardinghouse.

“Soon after high school, she rode around on a Harley-Davidson. She tooled the state pretty well on that,” Lorenz-McCabe said. “She once drove her and her sister to Yellowstone and slept in a farmer’s haystack.”

Mary and a friend spotted a sign one day offering an airplane flight and lesson for $5.

“She decided she wanted to learn to fly after that,” Lorenz-McCabe said.

Mary worked as a florist, a swimming instructor and a truck driver to pay for lessons and then to pitch in with three other friends to buy their own plane, said another daughter, Sheri Knox, of Denver.

During World War II, the government bought the plane for what Mary and her friends had paid for it. And Mary applied to be a WASP.

“She mostly ferried the planes to free the men up,” Lorenz-McCabe said. “She flew a variety of airplanes. She was also a test pilot.”

Just before she became a WASP, she was working in a nursing home laundry when she spotted Luke Vincent McCabe, an Army officer.

“That one’s mine,” she said.

The two married in late December 1944, after the WASP were disbanded, and had four children and 12 grandchildren.

Texas Women’s University in Denton, Texas, WASP Collection
Wings Across America


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