Elizabeth Blake Mapes Horner was born on October 1, 1918, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She spent most of her growing-up years there and at the family cottage on Lake Michigan.
She attended finishing school in Paris from 1933 to 1935. Her parents were trying to take the “tomboy” out of her, but never succeeded.
She graduated from Duke University in 1941 and obtained her private pilot’s license on June 25, 1940. She wanted to ferry military planes in the war effort.
She married Lawrence H. Horner, of Grand Rapids, on June 14, 1941. He was an officer in the U.S. Army, so her life as a military wife began. This ended her aspirations of ferrying military planes, as married women were not allowed to participate. She and her husband traveled the world and continued to pilot private planes throughout their lives. Lawrence retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1962 and began a second career in banking.
All three of her sons were drafted into the U.S. Army. Her husband died suddenly in July, 1968, and her youngest son was killed-in-action in September of that same year while serving with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam.
Betty started her teaching career in Alabama in 1947. She taught in many states, Okinawa, Germany, and twenty years in the Philippines. She traveled extensively while teaching, Bali being her favorite location.
Betty was a dedicated teacher throughout her life and received many honors. She retired in 1989 and returned to her home in Mission Viejo, California. She remained very active while retired, but gave up piloting due to the high cost. She had just given a speech at a DAR convention in Orange County, California, in September, 1994, when she was struck down with a massive brain hemorrhage and passed away.