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Honoring Col. John and Ruth Gwinn
Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel
John W. Gwinn was born in 1915 in Lockbridge, West Virginia. He was 14 years old when the stock
market crashed in 1929. “They say
that we’re in the worst economic times since the Great Depression” Gwinn
says. “I lived through the Great
Depression and I know all about it.”
Ruth Tolley was born in 1919
near the once-booming coal town of Winding Gulf in Raleigh County. Her mother died when Ruth was 12 years
old. The W.P.A. built an airfield
on her family’s farm in Summers County.
“I didn’t learn to drive,” Ruth says. “I learned to fly!”
She soloed at age 16.
Col. Gwinn completed his
distinguished military career in 1964. After moving to Lewisburg he
accepted the monumental “assignment” of building a commercial airport. He then managed the Greenbrier Valley
Airport for 27 years. He retired in
1994 – mission accomplished!
Tolley Gwinn took to the air again – teaching people to fly - and operating
the family airport at Pence Springs.
She holds the distinction of being the youngest woman in West
Virginia to obtain a pilot’s license, which was in 1937.
Center of Greenbrier Valley
Community Service Award