Marion “Babe” Weyant Ruth is a local aviation legend

LANSING, Michigan — Marion “Babe” Weyant Ruth spent her life paving the way for other women who shared her passion for flying 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 has lived and breathed aviation.

Born in Lansing in 1918, Ruth lived near Lansing Airport and spent her free time watching airplanes come and go.

As a young girl, she wrote to her idol Amelia Earhart about her passion.

Earhart responded, encouraging the budding pilot to stay the course and pursue her dreams.

“She definitely didn’t let barriers stop her from achieving her dream. She got her pilot’s license at the age of 19 and started flying at 16. The way she was able to pay for her license is that she set up a soft drink stand at the airport,” said Christy Kincaid of the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum.

This was the beginning of Ruth’s professional aviation career, but it was certainly not the end.

She obtained her first license at 19, becoming the youngest in the country to have this distinction.

At some point after her marriage, she decided to adopt the nickname Babe Ruth.

“When she married Dale Ruth, she took the name Babe Ruth. That’s where the name Babe Ruth came from. I don’t know, maybe she thought it was funny to be named after one of our country’s most famous baseball players,” Kincaid said.

Ruth became a flight instructor during World War II.

She was one of only five women to hold this post during the conflict.

Ruth continued to fly, teach, and help students at Lansing Community College achieve greatness through aviation.

Today, a community hall named in her honor stands at the Capital Region International Airport where she once looked up to the skies as a little girl and dreamed of flying.

Babe Ruth is inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, but 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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