Woman Parachutist Dies at 59
Miss Adeline Johnson (Gray) Graf, 59, of Horse Fence Hill Road, the first, and for many years the only, licensed woman parachutist in Connecticut, died Saturday at Waterbury Hospital after a brief illness.
Mrs. Graf began jumping in 1935 at age 19. She opened a parachute school in Lancaster, Pa., in 1938. She barnstormed all over the United States as part of a daredevil stunt parachute jump team. She was believed to have been the only woman parachute jumper in the country during the late 1930's and early 1940's. She received her pilot's license at age 21.
Mrs. Graf won national recognition on June 6, 1942 when she made the first jump using a nylon parachute. This was an important contribution to the war effort during World War II because the Japanese had cut off the silk supply. She was employed by the Pioneer Parachute Co. of Manchester where she was a rigger and tester of parachutes during the war.
Mrs. Graf leaves her husband, August Graf; a son, Glenn Johnson of Southbury; two daughters, Mrs. Keni Cummings of Buffalo, N.Y., and Mrs. Joyce Harrington of Southbury; a brother, Ernest Gray of Oxford, two sisters, Miss Evelyn Gray of Oxford, Ms. Edna Baldwin; and a grandson.
Private funeral services will be held Tuesday at the Munson Lovetere Funeral Home, Main Street, Woodbury. Burial will be in Trinity Cemetery, Seymour. There are no calling hours.