University Park centenarian shares tales of flying military aircraft
Audrey Tweed served in the Women’s Auxiliary Ferry Squadron, traveled the world, and won’t stop watering her yard herself at the age of 100.
The painting instructor recently celebrated her century mark with a surprise birthday gathering outside her University Park home, where she’s lived for more than 70 years.
The fourth-generation Texan was born in Houston and moved to Dallas in the ‘30s.
After graduating from Sunset High School in 1939 and Hockaday Junior College in 1942, her family moved to her present home in the 3200 block of Stanford Avenue.
Her father bought her a Taylor Craft airplane in her late teens, and she was in the process of getting her pilot’s license when accepted in the Women’s Auxiliary Ferry Squadron, created in 1942.
“My dad got the plane. He was going to get a pilot’s license, and I thought, ‘Well, if you can do it, I can, too,’” Tweed said. “The first time I flew the plane was at Love Field.”
The mission of the auxiliary was to ferry USAAF trainers and light aircraft from the factories. Still, later they delivered fighters, bombers, and transports, according to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force website.
She met 2nd Lt. Earl Tweed when he was stationed in Camp Wolters, Texas, and after seven dates, the couple got married at her family home.
My dad got the plane. He was going to get a pilot’s license, and I though, ‘Well, if you can do it, I can, too.’Audrey Tweed
Shortly after their wedding, Earl went to Europe with the 115th Infantry 29th Division. Audrey joined him in Europe after the war. They lived in Mannheim, Germany, then in Salzburg, Austria, from 1946 to 1947, before returning to Texas.
“Everybody in the Army called him Tweed,” Audrey said of her husband. “I didn’t know his first name for a long time…so, I mean, it got to be a habit, and all our married life, I called him Tweed.”
The couple ran Dallas Lumber and Hardware from 1949 until they retired in 1984. Audrey first taught painting in the store and continues to teach painting classes from her home studio.
Their daughter, Penelope, was born in 1947 and graduated from Highland Park High School in 1966. Audrey now has a granddaughter, seven great-grandchildren, and eight great-great-grandchildren.
In addition to being an accomplished pilot, equestrian, and painter, Tweed also enjoyed ice skating and was in the Dallas Figure Skating Club when it was at Fair Park and performed in shows from the 1940s until the 1960s.
The couple traveled to Israel with the Park Cities Baptist Choir in the ‘70s and re-visited battle sites in France for the 50th anniversary of D-Day, including Omaha Beach, where Earl landed with the 29th Division.
“That was the highlight of my life to go to Israel,” Audrey said. “My religion, my religious background, I always wanted to go to Israel.”
They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary with a trip to England with their daughter and granddaughter to visit Bath, Stonehenge, London, and Glastonbury. Earl died in 2017, shortly after their 74th anniversary.
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