After the State Department of Education approved the curriculum, she taught the class for 26 years, making her the only female high school aviation teacher in the country. She and her husband Charles donated hundreds of airplane rides to her students. She appeared in a training movie, “The Wind is Right”, produced by the FAA. She was a semi-finalist for the NASA Teacher in Space program. In 2001 she was inducted into the Riverside High School Faculty Hall of Fame. Gretchen wrote many aviation related articles for the local Painesville newspaper from 1966-77 while working as a “stringer”, and she covered local news events as well.
An active pilot, she now flies standard gear, antique aircraft out of Pheasant Run Airport, the private airport and aviation museum that she and Charles started developing in 1977 and which she donated in 2010 to Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio. Educational seminars and tours of the museum were frequent activities led by Charles and Gretchen. In 2003, they appeared in an aviation documentary, “The Restorers”, produced by Hemlock films. After Charles’ death in 2008, Gretchen began working with the college until their mutual goal of establishing a permanent museum and aviation educational facility was achieved. She will continue serving as advisor and maintenance supervisor while the college develops its satellite campus at Pheasant Run.
Gretchen is a 31-year member of the International Women’s Air and Space Museum in Cleveland and has been a trustee for ten years. She served as its Education Director and now leads tour groups, writes book reviews and other materials and does presentations about the museum to various organizations. She and her husband did major restoration of a Smith miniplane now on display and donated the Ranger engine that is part of IWASM’s WASP exhibit. She is a 2003 inductee into the International Forest of Friendship, an aviation honorary in Atchison, Kansas.
Gretchen M. Reed, 71, has been a lifelong resident of Lake County, Ohio. She attended Mentor schools and earned a Bachelor of Education degree from Toledo University in 1965. While at Toledo, she held several editorships on the university’s newspaper and was inducted into Alpha Phi Gamma, a journalism honorary; she was a member of Kappa Delta Sorority.
She taught at Mentor High School for two years and at Riverside High School in Painesville Township for 28 years, retiring in 1995. She taught a wide variety of English classes, including journalism, and was advisor to the school newspaper for ten years. She produced and edited the school newsletter and served on the National Honor Society Selection Committee. Gretchen is a board member of the Riverside Alumni Association.
In 1969, after earning her private pilot’s license, Gretchen wrote the curriculum for an Aviation Ground School class.