LANSING, Mich. — Marion "Babe" Weyant Ruth spent her life blazing a trail for other women who shared her passion for flying high above the clouds. Her accomplishments and legacy are part of the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame and the Air Zoo.
By all accounts Ruth lived and breathed aviation.
Born in Lansing in 1918, Ruth lived near the Lansing airport and would spend her free time watching planes come and go.
As a young girl she wrote to her idol Amelia Earhart about her passion.
Earhart wrote back, encouraging the budding pilot to stay the course and pursue her dreams.
“She definitely did not let barriers keep her from her dream. She got her pilot's license at the age of 19 and started flying at 16. The way that she was able to pay for her license is that she set up a soda pop stand at the airport,” said Christy Kincaid of the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum.
That was the beginning of Ruth’s professional aviation career, but it certainly wasn’t the end.
She got her first license at 19, becoming the youngest in the country to have the distinction.
At some point after getting married, she decided to adopt the moniker, Babe Ruth.
“When she got married to Dale Ruth, she took on the name Babe Ruth. So that’s where the name Babe Ruth came from. I don’t know, maybe she thought it was funny being named after one of the most famous baseball players in our country,” said Kincaid.
Ruth went on to become a flight instructor during World War II.
She was one of only five women to be working in that capacity during the conflict.
Ruth continued to fly, teach and help students at Lansing Community College ascend to higher heights through aviation.
Today, a community room named in her honor sits at the Capital Region International Airport where she once looked up into the sky as a little girl and dreamed of flying.
Babe Ruth is a Michigan Women's Hall of Fame inductee, but she has been honored by many other organizations for her contributions to the field of aviation.
She died in 2004 at the age of 86.
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