A bronze coin was minted to honor Women Association Service Pilots. IMAGE COURTESY OF THE U.S. MINT

Pioneering pilot dies

Phyllis Marsden Paradis.

BAR HARBOR — A Gott’s Island summer resident who died this week at 99 was a military pilot in World War II and recipient of a Congressional Medal of Honor.

Phyllis Marsden Paradis was born in Massachusetts and lived in several states along the Atlantic Ocean throughout her life.

She was one of more than 1,000 women who participated in the Women Association Service Pilots (WASP) program during WWII. WASPs were civilian volunteers who flew essential noncombat missions to allow male pilots to head to combat duties.

“Being a WASP was a defining thing for her,” said Lorraine Stanley of Tremont, Paradis’ granddaughter.

She recalled stories her grandmother would tell her of flying all kinds of aircraft, and having to land carefully in fields, so as not to hit the cows.

Paradis enjoyed traveling and kept an open mind to adventure. In 1990, she attended a ceremonial meeting in the then-USSR with surviving female WWII pilots. She said they were “sturdy women” and had a lot of respect for them.

Stanley also remembered her grandmother’s love of fine art. The way Paradis talked about paintings would bring them to life, she said.

“She was the kind of woman who never thought about getting permission to do something,” Stanley said.

Henriette Chacar

Henriette Chacar

Former Islander reporter Henriette Chacar covered the towns of Southwest Harbor and Tremont.
Henriette Chacar

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