Audrey BairdAudrey Baird, 93, Dickinson, died Sunday, Feb. 3, at the Country House Residences, the memory care facility where she has spent her final years happily under the wonderful care of their staff.
Audrey Baird, 93, Dickinson, died Sunday, Feb. 3, at the Country House Residences, the memory care facility where she has spent her final years happily under the wonderful care of their staff.
Audrey’s funeral service is 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Dickinson, with the Rev. Marianne Ell officiating. Interment will take place in the spring at the Dickinson Cemetery.
Visitation is Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Ladbury Funeral Service, Dickinson, and will continue one hour prior to services at the church Friday.
Audrey Louise Larson was born July 22, 1919, in Minneapolis to Louis and Hilda (Thelander) Larson. She was a graduate of South High School and began her employment years as the first woman teller with Northwestern Bank in Minneapolis.
Her independent streak not only brought her to the forefront in her employment, but it gave rise to a desire to fly, a passion that would last her entire life.
In her early 20s, Audrey decided she was going to take flying lessons. After discussions with her parents, she was given skeptical and non-monetary support. It was off to the Robbinsdale/Crystal Airport outside of Minneapolis where she diligently took her ground school studies and instructional flying lessons.
When it came time for her private licensing, one would suspect the normal takeoff and landing on the runway, but not Audrey. She completed her private license flight in Florida using a float plane, taking off and landing on water.
In a time period after WWII, Audrey attended a multi-family summer picnic in Wisconsin where she met her future husband, LaRoy Baird Jr. They were married at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City on New Year’s Day 1948. To this union four children were born: LaRoy III, John Robert, David Louis and Ellen Hilda.
Audrey, LaRoy and family moved from Minneapolis to Dickinson in 1957. Audrey’s husband acquired the Dickinson Abstract Company and Audrey set about making a home for everyone in the city where her husband had grown up.
In addition to caring for the home fires, Audrey was an active participant at St. John’s Episcopal Church, the P.E.O. Sisterhood, and was a charter member of the North Dakota Chapter of 99s, an international organization of women pilots.
She continued her lifelong pursuit of flying and ultimately obtained her commercial rating along with an instrument rating. In 1970, she and her best friend and flying companion, Geneva Oleson, participated in the nationwide Women’s Transcontinental Air Race, also known as the “Powder Puff Derby.”
For the derby she piloted her plane from Calgary, Alberta, to Baton Rouge, La. Audrey often talked of her favorite flying adventure in 1993, when she and her son, David, flew her Beechcraft Bonanza from Dickinson to Fairbanks, Alaska.
While living in Dickinson, Audrey’s husband was elected county judge, which required her to learn how to assist in running the family-owned title company. She worked with her husband evenings and weekends to learn the intricacies of land title work.
She successfully completed her abstracting boards a mere six months before her husband unexpectedly passed away on Oct. 1, 1969. At that point, she took over the title-company full time to support her family. She ran the company successfully until she sold it in 1996 when, at the age of 77, she finally decided it might be a good idea to retire.
Retirement to Audrey meant staying active flying and with civic involvement. She served many years on the Municipal Airport Authority of the city of Dickinson and on the State of North Dakota Abstracters Board of Examiners.
She was honored with awards for her years of dedication to the community and the state, including awards from the Dickinson Chamber of Commerce, for pioneering contributions as a woman pilot and businesswoman, and the Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration, as a master pilot with more than 50 years of flying.
Audrey was preceded in death by her parents Louis and Hilda, her brother L. John and her husband LaRoy.
She is survived by her children: LaRoy III (with wife Mary), John (with wife Kim), David, and Ellen (with husband Mike Getz), grandchildren: Jesse (with wife Sarah), Ondine, Stephen, and Anna, and great-grandchildren: Jordan and Bailee Baird as well as several nieces and nephews.
Arrangements are with Ladbury Funeral Service, Dickinson.
Sign the guestbook (1 comment)
Comments posted on this page do not reflect opinions of Forum Communications Company. Forum Communications Company does not endorse and is not responsible for any statement, opinion, advice given or made. All replies are subject to approval and must follow Forum Communications Company guidelines concerning statements of libel, personal attacks or defamation of character. Replies in the "Talk About It" section that criticize a person by name may not be posted, unless that person is openly involved in a public issue. Comments written in all capital letters or bold print will not be considered for inclusion in the forum.