1929 – Cleveland National Air Race – behind the grandstand. That was the “when” and “where” several lady pilots discussed the possible formation of a women aviators’ organization. The rest is history. The first organizational meeting was scheduled November 2, 1929, at Curtiss Field on Long Island, New York. Thus, the start of the 99 Club. Of the 99 Charter Members, fifteen were from North Central Section.

Lauretta Schimmoler (License #15907) served as the first North Central Section Governor in 1931 during Amelia Earhart’s first tenure of office. Then she was elected International Secretary-Treasurer during Earhart’s second term and the first year of Margaret Cooper’s presidency (1932-1934). Lauretta also spearheaded the formation of the Cleveland Chapter, the first 99s Chapter in Ohio (1932). Mary von Mach, a Charter Member, was the second NCS Governor (1932-1933) and a member of the Michigan Chapter.

Growth of the Section was slow. By 1932, only 30 members were registered in the North Central Section across nine states. By October 1936, NCS had only four chapters – Illinois, Michigan, Northern Ohio, and Southern Ohio. The other five states (Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin) in the NCS had only one or two 99s in their respective states and could not form a chapter. At least five members were required to form a Chapter.

During her term as Governor (1937-1939) and as NCS Membership Chairman (1940), Florence Boswell (Cleveland) devoted a great deal of time traveling in her Cessna throughout the Section, promoting The 99s and assisting in Chapter formation. Over next several years, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Eastern Missouri, and Wisconsin were chartered as new Chapters in our Section.

All pilots were grounded following December 7, 1941. WWII brought members quickly into the war effort, not only on the home front, but in a variety of other missions. The 99s served in Civil Defense, WACs, WAFs, WASPs, WAVES, Red Cross, and Nurse Corps. Chapter activities became very limited during this period.

In 1945 after the war, The 99s undertook reorganization and membership growth. As Chapter memberships increased through the years, so have the number of Chapters in the Section. Divisions of some larger chapters have created new chapters covering smaller geographical areas, which facilitated easier attendance at chapter activities. In 1991, NCS had a high of 24 chapters.

NCS members have served the 99s International Board of Directors in a variety of offices. The following NCS members were elected as President of The 99s:

  • Elaine Morrow (2004-2006)
  • Marie Christensen (1990-1992)
  • Lois Feigenbaum (1976-1978)
  • Bernice Steadman (1969-1970)
  • Eugenia “Deedo” Heise (1959-1961)
  • Edna Gardner Whyte (1955-1957)
  • Alice Hammond (1951-1953)
  • Belle Hetzel (1947-1948)
  • Jeannette Lempke Sovereign (1945-1947)
  • Mabel Britton (1935-1937)

The following members were elected as Governor of NCS:

  • Deb McGee, Iowa (2022-2024)
  • Janice Welsh, Indiana Dunes (2020-2022)
  • Ellen O’Hara, Chicago Area (2018-2020)
  • Minnetta Gardinier, Iowa (2014-2018)
  • Paula Hook, Scioto Valley (2012-2014)
  • Shelley Ventura, Aux Plaines (2008-2012)
  • Cynthia Madsen, Chicago Area (2006-2008)
  • Betty Huck, Greater Cincinnatti (2004-2006)
  • Elaine Morrow, Minnesota (2002-2004)
  • Donna Moore, Women With Wings (2000-2002)
  • Nelda Lee, Greater St. Louis (1998-2000)
  • Linda Neumann (1996-1998)
  • Cathie Mayr (1994-1996)
  • Virginia Sutherland, Greater Detroit (1992-1994)
  • Delores “Dodie” Jewell, Lake Erie (1990-1992)
  • Clara Johansen, Minnesota (1988-1990)
  • Nita Fineman (1986-1988)
  • Joan Kerwin, Chicago Area (1984-1986)
  • Diane Cozzi, Chicago Area (1982-1984)
  • Val Johnson, Greater St. Louis (1980-1982)
  • Marilynn Miller, All-Ohio (1978-1980)
  • Lois Kennard, Indiana (1976-1978)
  • Amy Laws, Greater St. Louis (1974-1976)
  • Rita Orr, Minnesota (1972-1974)
  • Janice Kuechenmeister, All-Ohio (1970-1972)
  • Mary Clark, Michigan (1968-1970)
  • Anne Roethke, Wisconsin (1966-1968)
  • Sarah Gorelick Ratley, Greater Kansas City (1964-1966)
  • Tannie Schlundt, Indiana (1962-1964)
  • Lois Seketa, Chicago Area (1960-1962)
  • Joan Hrubec, Lake Erie (1958-1960)
  • Becky Thatcher, Michigan (1956-1958)
  • Eloise Smith, Michigan (1954-1956)
  • Eugenia “Deedo” Heise, Wisconsin (1952-1954)
  • Ruth Shimon, Upper Iowa (1951-1952)
  • Greenwood “Cokie” Cocanougher, Kentucky Bluegrass (1949-1951)
  • Thelma Lindzay, Michigan (1947-1949)
  • Elsie Peters, Wisconsin (1945-1947)
  • Helen Wetherill, Michigan (1943-1945)
  • Belle Hetzel, Iowa (1941-1943)
  • Mae Wilson, Illinois (1939-1941)
  • Florence Boswell, All-Ohio (1937-1939)
  • Jeannette Lempke, Michigan (1935-1937)
  • Alice Hirschman Hammond, Michigan (1934-1935)
  • Mabel Britton, Michigan (1933-1934)
  • Mary Von Mach, Michigan (1932-1933)
  • Lauretta Schimmoler, All-Ohio (1931-1932)