Emily Howell Warner, Who Broke a Sky-High Glass Ceiling, Dies at 80

Emily Howell Warner, Who Broke a Sky-High Glass Ceiling, Dies at 80

Emily Howell Warner, Who Broke a Sky-High Glass Ceiling, Dies at 80

Emily Howell Warner, Who Broke a Sky-High Glass Ceiling, Dies at 80

That was her first flight, in 1958, the one that would define her career.

In 1963, she married Stanley Howell, a nurse in the National Guard; they divorced in 1965. Their son, Stanley Jr., whom she raised as a single mother, died of heart failure in 2001 following complications of diabetes.

In 1976, she married Julius Warner, a real estate developer who was a founder of Ouray Ranch, a private community near Granby, Colo., where the couple lived. He died in 2012.

In addition to her brother Dennis, her survivors include her twin sister, Eileen Spillane, who became a flight nurse; two other brothers, Patrick and Richard Hanrahan; and stepchildren.

Ms. Warner’s flying career spanned more than four decades.

When she landed in Las Vegas from Denver on her trailblazing flight for Frontier Airlines in 1973, she received a red, white and blue bouquet sent by Turi Wideroe of Scandinavian Airlines System, who is credited as the first female airline captain in the West, becoming one in 1969.

Ms. Warner went on to fly for Frontier, Continental and United Parcel Service, commanding Boeing 737s and 727s until 1990, when she became a federal aviation safety inspector based in Denver. She retired in 2002 after logging some 21,000 flying hours.

She was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio, in 2014. She wrote “Learning How to Fly an Airplane” (1979, with Jerry McGuire); was the subject of a book, “Weaving the Winds: Emily Howell Warner” (2003), by Ann Lewis Cooper; and was active in the Ninety-Nine’s International Organization of Women Pilots, a group founded by Amelia Earhart.

Once asked how she wanted to be known — as a female pilot, an aviatrix? — she replied, “Captain will be just fine.”


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