Canadian Aviatrix #48 – Jean Pike (1916-2001)

Jean was born on 17 April 1916 in Chicago to Francis Robert Pike (an English carpenter) and Katherine (Kitty) Gott (an American nurse).

Francis and Kitty were married and had their first child in Alberta, but Jean was born in Kitty’s home state of Illinois. It’s unclear where the family are in the 1920s, but in 1929, the family officially arrived in Canada and, by the 1931 census, they were living in Vancouver.

In 1935, both Jean and Robert started flying lessons in Vancouver.

On 4 February 1936, Jean passed her flying test and received her PPL, making her the 48th female pilot in Canada. She was 19 years old.

Canadian Aviatrix #48 – Jean Pike (1916-2001)

Photo: Canada Aviation and Space Museum – CAVM-22374

In 1936, the Flying Seven were formed. Jean’s involvement in the group will be part of a separate article. (In the photo below, she's on the far left.)

The Flying Seven 

Photo: Canada Aviation and Space Museum – CAVM-22374

By 1937, the family had moved to California. Jean was “Canada’s youngest aviatrix” and taking an advanced course with the American Air Cadets Corp at the Metropolitan Airport in Van Nuys. Robert was a sales manager for a flying school.

On 11 February 1939, Jean married George Gustavous Gouvas. They lived in Glendale, California, where she was a secretary at flying school and he worked at an airplane factory. The marriage didn’t last long – she filed for divorce in May 1940 and George was remarried in 1941.

On 9 February 1946, Jean got remarried to Donald Edward Hembre (a teacher). They lived in Oregon and had a daughter. By 1948, Donald was grade school superintendent. Jean’s 1950 census entry says she worked full-time, earning $4,500, plus $600 from investments / pensions etc (the equivalent of $62,000 in 2022).

In 1953, Jean filed for divorce again. She was back in California and working at a photography company – starting as a secretary and working up to office manager. She was appointed treasurer of the Glendale chapter of the National Secretaries Association. In 1962, she was nominated for Outstanding Secretary of Southern California.

In 1976, Jean married Mr Fredrik. (This is just from her social security file – I haven’t been able to find his details yet.)

Jean died in 2001, aged 85.

Note: Jean was the most elusive member of the Flying Seven to research. Most articles about the group simply say she was the youngest member and, after the first few events, she moved to California. Thank you to the members of the Reddit Genealogy community for helping me to piece this all together!

The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots


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