AVPEOPLE -- Joyce Bond

* Joyce Bond, the Reginan who became the first woman parachutist in Western Canada, died Feb. 7 in California. According to No Place For A Lady, Shirley Render's book on Canada's "female aviators", Joyce gained Canadian private pilot's licence No. 1092 in December 1936, "and then sought new challenges". She turned to parachuting because "that seemed to be the ultimate adventure".

Instruction was through the Regina Flying Club. No Place For a Lady suggests it was sketchy by today's standards, consisting of lectures -- then going up in airplanes to watch others jump. On Sept. 25, 1937, the RFC's chief instructor, Jack Hames, bundled her into the back of a Fleet biplane and took her over the city for her first and only jump. "HALF-MILE JUMP FOR REGINA GIRL" said the next day's Leader-Post.

"She loved to do something different," said her sister-in-law, Betty Thatcher. "Her parents apparently didn't know she was going to do this."

Although Joyce never jumped again, she took aerobatic instruction in Vancouver in 1938 and tried to enlist in the wartime air forces of Canada and China (which was advertising for foreign pilots to help fight off Japanese invaders). She then moved from Regina to Hamilton, landing a job at the little-known factory there building Piper Cub aircraft. She worked in the office and logged a little flight time ferrying aircraft and even dropping leaflets promoting war bonds.

 In 1944, knowing that thousands of more experienced military airmen would be coming back, she came home and took a job at what became Simpson's department store. In 1952, she emigrated to California. She died Feb. 7, 1999,  in Los Altos, a suburb of San Francisco.

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