February 12, 1920 – April 19, 2013
Olive Hammons Weathersby passed away Friday, April 19, 2013. Olive was born in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana on February 12, 1920. She was the daughter of the late Harvey L. and Effie M. Hammons, and the widow of Dr. A.B. Weathersby who preceded her in death in 1988.
Olive was valedictorian of her high school class, and graduated cum laude from Louisiana Tech University in 1940. She later attended Library School at Louisiana State University. She taught high school English for three years in Oberlin, Louisiana, before moving to Washington, D.C. where she was Legislative Reference Librarian for the Social Security Board. She later served as Assistant Librarian at the Naval Medical Research Institute at Bethesda, Maryland.
In 1945 Olive married A.B. Weathersby, a Naval officer. Olive and A.B. lived an adventurous life together in Texas, Louisiana, Egypt, Iran, Japan, and Bethesda, Maryland before coming to Athens, Georgia in 1962 where A.B. was a professor of Medical Entomology at the University of Georgia.
Olive was well known for being the first civilian woman to parachute from a military plane under emergency conditions. This occurred on November 18, 1946. Olive jumped into the Sinai Desert at night from a disabled B-17, survived the landing, and later rode a camel to a train station where she and her group were rescued. Remarkably, Olive’s black high heel shoes and nylon hose were not damaged! Olive was a life-long member of the Caterpillar Club for individuals whose lives were saved by a parachute (“Life depends on a silken thread.”).
Olive was an active member in the following organizations: Beech Haven Baptist Church and its Fidelis Sunday School Class and the Young-at-Heart Club; UGA Woman’s Club; The President’s Club of UGA; Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society; Double W Club; Beechwood Hills Garden Club; The Caterpillar Club; and L.I.F.T.
Olive is survived by two sons, Richard Michael Weathersby and his wife, Paula Young Weathersby of Bishop, Georgia, and Robert Benton Weathersby and his wife, Rachelle Berlin Weathersby of Dallas, Texas; a brother, Donald Wayne Hammons and his wife, Bonnie Hammons of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and several nieces and nephews. Olive was also blessed with three beautiful grandchildren, Mia Nicole Weathersby, Gabriella Marie Weathersby, and Roger Benton “Bubby” Weathersby, and friends throughout her life too numerous to list. Olive lived a long and wonderful life; she always maintained her calm demeanor during adversity; and she now resides in the loving arms of Jesus Christ in Heaven with her husband A.B.
Funeral services will be held 1PM Wednesday, April 24th at Beech Haven Baptist Church with Dr. Stewart Simms officiating. The family will receive friends from 12-1PM prior to the service at the church.
Online condolences may be offered at www.bernsteinfuneralhome.com
Bernstein Funeral Home and Cremation Service is in charge of arrangements.
- Funeral Service Wednesday, April 24, 2013
- Visitation Wednesday, April 24, 2013
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April 28, 2013
Rick and family, We are so sorry for your loss. May God hold all of you close and help you thru this time of grief. She was an amazing women...now an amazing Angel. Thoughts and prayer, Jean Mrozowski and Steve Pittard
April 25, 2013
I met Miss Olive at Iris Place last year while having lunch with my Mom, Virginia Scott. Her remarkable qualities made a lasting impression and I always enjoyed visiting with her during visits to Iris Place. After hearing her story of bailing out over the desert, I wrote the following lines.
Olive is 92 years old
beautifully frail and elegant
born in Ruston, Louisiana in 1920
studied library science at Louisiana Tech
did graduate work at LSU
a lady of ambition
she went to Washington before the Big One
and ended up in the medical library
at Bethesda Naval Hospital
her eyes and her memory are clear
Olive met a naval officer with Ph.D.
an expert in insect borne diseases
he had helped keep the Marines
well enough to fight
in the brutal South Pacific campaign
they married and she went with him
all over the world
assignments in the Far East
and a stint in Teheran
they were on their way out of Iran
tagging along on a B-17 back to Egypt
every person was issued a parachute
the pilot called them to the cockpit
to see the lights of Jerusalem by night
when they saw an engine go out
and a second leaving two
enough to make it back to earth
until the supercharger exploded on the third engine
throwing out metal that banged against the fuselage
and the pilot ordered everyone to bail out
Olive's husband thought he would have to shove her out the door
but she leapt of her own accord
“You can do things when it means your survival,”
she tells me
they had been flying over water
but she landed in the Sinai Desert
and the plane crashed into the sea
the pilot and co-pilot were MIA
but they showed up the next day alive
Olive was still wearing her high heel shoes
Bedouins with camels found them
a train came by
they rode to the first town and were put off
to visit with local authorities
calls were made
a British officer appeared and vouched for them
because their papers went down with the plane
and they took the next train down to Cairo
and all was well
I'm grateful to have known Olive and I know she'll be sorely missed.
April 24, 2013
Olive was a sweet gentle woman and I treasured the times I got to do her hair at Iris Place. I saw Olive on Thursday while Debra was doing her hair,we talked and Debra and I both kissed her on the forehead before she left. Little did I know that would be the last time we would see her. Always smiling and I will cherish the sweet memories I have of her. I know her family feels a great loss, she was always talking about you and I will keep all of you in my prayers. GOD BLESS
April 23, 2013
Mrs. Weathersby was the mother of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Bob. She was always such a perfect, gentle lady. I spent many days with her and her family and cherish the memories and fun times we had.
April 23, 2013
Rick, so sorry for your loss....what an amazing woman from reading her obituary...I never knew what an amazing life she led, only how close you were to her and how well you took care of her...precious memories..
April 23, 2013
Ricky, my deepest sympathies to you and your family. Treasure those precious memories.
Bernstein Funeral Home
April 23, 2013
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.