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The Francis Fitzgerald Scholarship - Memorializing a Passion for Flight


Francis Fitzgerald got his pilot’s license at 16 – license number 18,010. “Fitz”, as he was known, was a flight instructor before World War II. When the war began he became chief pilot at Ogden Regional Airport in charge of training Navy cadets. Later Fitz joined the Air Force Ferry Command and he ended the war flying “the hump” over the Himalayas from India to China.

Lois Wheatlake was intrigued by flight. In 1942, she completed the course to become a federal airway traffic controller and was sent to the Salt Lake tower as a trainee; later she was assigned to the Ogden tower. Soon after arriving in Ogden she learned to fly. She had about twelve hours in the air when she met Fitz. He decided the new controller needed a “familiarization flight,” so he invited Lois on a flying tour of the area. After learning Lois was working on her pilot’s license, he asked if she wanted to land the plane. She said she would give it a try and luckily she made a pretty darn good landing.

Soon Fitz offered to be Lois’ flight instructor and then her husband. They had 47 wonderful years together before he passed away in 1991. Fitz had flown everything from jennys to jets during his life, P38s being his favorite aircraft. His family and friends created the Francis Fitzgerald Aviation Scholarship to help other young pilots pursue their passion for flight. The scholarship really took off when Westminster created a flight program.

Through her will, Lois has created a bequest to enhance the scholarship in Fitz’s name. It pleases her to know that future pilots will carry on his legacy of flight. “He would be so pleased to know his scholarship is helping someone do what he loved to do – fly!” said Lois.

How you can honor a friend or family member

If you wish to honor a friend or family member through an estate gift to Westminster, ask your attorney to place the following language in your will or trust document:

“I give, devise, and bequeath X%* of my estate to Westminster College, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization in Salt Lake City, Utah, for its general use and purpose.”

*You may also indicate a specific dollar amount.

If you have a purpose in mind for your gift, please call to discuss it with us so we may put your gift to its proper use. Contact Kaye Stackpole, Director of Gift Planning at (801) 832-2735 or toll free at (866) 832-2730.