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History of the Silverliners 1954-Present

Our Founders:  Carol Montell Harlin, Claire Ward Westhafer and Doris Coughlin Self

 

Silverliner History 1954 - Present

Three remarkable women – Carol Montell Harlin, Doris Coughlin Self and Claire Ward Westhafer got together in New York to talk about their "flying days."  They took the steps needed from that meeting to bring about the most unusual organization in the world – The Silverliners.  They met with Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, founder of EAL, who selected the name Silverliners while commenting “his girls were the silverlining of any dark cloud”. The word got out and in December 1954, a meeting was held of former Eastern Air Lines stewardesses who were interested in retaining old and gaining new friendships and raising monies for charitable purposes.

In 1968, the four independent chapters came together (with the help of Eastern) to become the National Silverliners.  This meeting of New York, New Jersey, Miami and Atlanta chapters was held in Atlanta.  In 1974, with the addition of the Mexico City chapter, we became the International Silverliners.  We also welcomed current flight attendants.  Silverliners opened their doors to Associate Members in 1994 giving us the opportunity to welcome those who have helped us so much through the years as well as people who are newly aware of Silverliners to our organization.

As we matured, we found ways for International to keep us even closer by encouraging the chapters to participate in a nationwide endeavor – our Flight to the North Pole. This annual event has brought much joy to challenged and critically ill children and their families.

In 1987, we adopted an International charity, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp (whose champion was actor Paul Newman). We retired our initial pledge to build a cabin for the camp, but continued to provide monetary support for other camp needs.

We have helped raise millions of dollars, spent thousands of hours helping others, worked thousands of hours as volunteers for Eastern and enjoyed each other at chapter meetings and International Meetings and Conventions.

To continue to reach out to new people and bring fresh ideas and ways to share what our Founders envisioned for us are the goals we still embrace.

In 2014 we celebrated our 60th Anniversary.  60 years of fundraising, fun and friendship . . . thanks to Eastern Air Lines, our Founders and each and every member – past and present!  If you are a former EAL flight attendant or employee and if you'd like to join us as we continue to enjoy each other, give back to our communities and relive our years as an EAL Flight Attendant, please send us an email request at [email protected] or through the website Contact Us.

 

   PAST INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENTS

     Jeanne Fitzgerald Smith - 1968-1970                            Lois Jirschele Morton - 1986-1988       

     Beverly Bridgers Bennis - 1970-1972                            Merrill Anners Oberg - 1988-90

     Fay Wolfenbarger Flinchum - 1972-1974                       Willie Podesta Young -- 1990-1992

     JoAnn Kingsley Egan - 1974-1976                                 Claudia Tangye Van Veen - 1992-1996

     Billie Gillom Schaeffer - 1976-1978                               Margo Hall Salyer * - 1996-2000

     Judy Lockwood Parker - 1978-1980                               Conni Leaf Kerrigan - 2000-2004

     Dorothy Gomolak Nouhan - 1980-1982                          Kris Karg Ericson-Dibble  - 2004-2008

     Eleanor Johnson Skipsey - 1982-1984                            Marge McCray Robertson - 2008-2012

     Audrey Thieme Feller * - 1984-1986                                Patricia Bennis McLean - 2012 - 2016

     Conni Leaf Kerrigan - 2016-2018

*Deceased