Elliott Aviation co-founder Arlene Elliott died in Naples, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 17, at the age of 91. Mrs. Elliott was preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, Herb Elliott, with whom she co-founded Elliott Aviation in 1936.
She is survived by her daughter Pam Doherty and son-in-law Dick Doherty of Crystal Lake, Ill., son Wynn and daughter-in-law Sara Elliott, of Bettendorf, Iowa, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
“This is a sad time for the entire Elliott Aviation family,” said son Wynn Elliott, who was named president and chief executive officer of Elliott Aviation in 1993. “My mom was a loving wife, and a wonderful mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. But more than that, she was truly an aviation pioneer and one of the first great women in the industry.”
Born in Plainview, Iowa, on Sept. 5, 1918, Arlene Stoltenberg met her future husband, Herb Elliott, at Davenport (Iowa) High School in 1933 and the two were wed in 1939.
Herb Elliott founded Elliott Flying Service at Cram Field in Davenport in 1936. Arlene worked full-time as secretary to the president of Victor Animatograph (manufacturers of the original “home/office movie projector”) in Davenport and kept the Elliott Flying Service books, paying bills for Herb part time.
A pilot who soloed in a Piper Cub in 1936, Arlene instead chose to focus on promoting general aviation, and is widely credited with persuading banks to finance purchases of business aircraft, which enabled a broader range of entrepreneurs to gain access to these powerful business tools. She also served as the primary financial officer for Elliott Aviation for much of her career and treasurer on the Elliott Aviation Board of Directors.
In recognition of her more than 60 years in the industry, in 1999 Arlene was inducted into the Women In Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame.
The company was one of the original independent Beech dealerships, and in 1977, Beech Aircraft Corp. renamed its “Man of the Year” award to “Team of the Year,” and gave the award to both Herb and Arlene, who are listed in the Beechcraft Hall of Fame.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) recognized the Elliotts with the Distinguished Service Award in 1989, and the William A. “Bill” Ong Memorial Award in 2001.
Mr. Elliott passed away in 2005 at the age of 90.
Memorial gifts may be contributed in Mrs. Elliott’s name to Junior Achievement of the Heartland, 800 12th Ave., Moline, Ill., 61265, or by calling 309-277-3908.
For more information: ElliottAviation.com.