Even at 89, Plum resident still has a great passion for adventure
Ruth Weir said she has always been an adventurer.
In 1945, at the age of 21, she joined the Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service, or WAVES, a Navy unit for women established during World War II.
Inspired by aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, Weir earned her airplane pilot's license in 1957.
When she was in her 60s, she began traveling the world — on commercial flights and cruises — to places such as Antarctica, Australia and Tanzania, she said.
Now, the 89-year-old Plum resident is jumping out of planes.
“I'm not nervous … it's not bad,” she said.
Weir and a tandem instructor parachuted 13,500 feet on June 16 from an airplane that took off from Grove City Airport, said Cecil Smith, drop zone operator at Skydive Pennsylvania.
Weir is the oldest woman to parachute during a flight from the airport in Skydive's 20-year history, Smith said.
“She did fine. Ruth was on top of things from the start. She had no problems,” said Smith, who said Weir traveled at around 130 miles per hour and had about 60 seconds of free fall followed by about a 10-minute parachute ride.
Weir parachuted for the first time in 2004, but she doesn't plan to wait nine years before jumping again, she said.
Now that she's 89, she plans to jump every year for the rest of her life, she said.
A native of Swarthmore, Weir graduated from West Chester State Teachers College, now West Chester University, with a degree in health and physical education in 1945. She and her husband, Jim Weir, raised their five children in a house at O'Hara-based Greenwood Cemetery, which the Weirs began operating in 1960, she said.
Four years ago, Ruth Weir moved into Longwood at Oakmont, a retirement community in Plum, but her husband still lives in the house at Greenwood, running the cemetery with one of the Weirs' sons.
Ruth Weir credits her passion for adventure to her admiration of Earhart, who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932. Earhart disappeared somewhere over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.
“Amelia was a trailblazer for me,” Weir said.
Weir no longer flies planes, but she plans to keep traveling overseas.
Her favorite place to visit so far was Antarctica.
“It was quiet. It was beautiful. The icebergs were magnificent,” she said.
Weir is young at heart, Smith said.
While walking by a 75-year-old woman waiting to parachute last week, Weir said, “‘Good luck, kid,'” Smith said.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Back in session: What’s new at Pittsburgh-area schools
- Feasibility of Moon Area-Cornell merger remains uncertain