2017-04-20 / Community

Captain DeeDee French retires from aviation

DeeDee French and her husband, Vince Howell, held DeeDee’s fantastic retirement party on March 25 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Resort on Pensacola Beach. This party begin with the invitation and ended with a gala. The music was great, the camaraderie of family and friends was boundless and the food was scrumptious. The invitations were unique complete with aviation lingo; the outside of the card had a picture of a plane and the card began with “You are cleared for take-off! Destination; A retirement party for Captain DeeDee French.” Inside, the card gave the “Estimated time of Arrival and Departure.”

Entertainment was provided by the Reunion Band and the room was filled with DeeDee’s family and friends. Her family included her mother, Virginia Bedsole, her two sisters, Merita Rhodes and Jenny Hollingsworth and one brother, Wayne French. Friends showed up in bunches. DeeDee’s two lifelong friends from High School, Donna Ryan and her husband, Charlie, and Robin Allen with her husband, Dan Noel, were there to help their friend of so many years celebrate. The party room food area was filled with food served Buffet style. The cake was decorated with a picture of a Boeing airplane and the words; Congratulations Captain French!


LEFT: DeeDee and Vince welcome family and friends to the DeeDee’s retirement party LEFT: DeeDee and Vince welcome family and friends to the DeeDee’s retirement party DeeDee is a native of the Pensacola and Gulf Breeze area. She graduated from Gulf Breeze High School (GBHS) in 1975. She was a Dolphin cheerleader for 3 years at GBHS. She attended Pensacola Junior College then transferred to Florida Institute of Technology and graduated with a Baccalaureate of Science in Aviation Technology in 1980. She worked in various positions getting as much experience in flying as she possible. Then she was hired by United Airlines in 1985. She served as First Officer and made Captain in 2001. She has flown Boeing 727,737,747, 757, 767, and 777; she flew the Boing 777 the longest. She has flown over 20,000 hours. The highlight of her career was being able to see of the planet Earth; having flown over most of the world. Somewhere in all of this excitement she married Vince Howell and they live on the Santa Rosa Sound.


Deedee with her mother, Virginia Bedsole, and sister, Merita Rhodes. Deedee with her mother, Virginia Bedsole, and sister, Merita Rhodes. It is a wonder that DeeDee was able to retire from such a rousing career. She can’t forget being in the cockpit of an airliner; retarding the throttles, trimming the nose up, feeling the ship settle back to earth and the engines wind down. She will remember the many different types of airplanes she flew, how many ports she landed in around the world and performing in all kinds of weather.

When asked what she would do in her retirement she said, “It’s wonderful to be retired on the golden gulf coast so I will be enjoying the water; boating and swimming.” She went on to say “I will also be playing with my dogs and will do some volunteer work for the Boxer Rescue Organization where I found them.”


DeeDee retirement cake is decorated with the nose of Boeing 777. DeeDee retirement cake is decorated with the nose of Boeing 777. League of Women Voters Pensacola Bay Area

The annual meeting of the League of Women Voters of the Pensacola Bay Area will be held at the Pensacola Yacht Club, 1897 Cypress St. on May 13. Registration 9:30 a.m., Business Meeting 10 a.m., Luncheon at Noon. The luncheon speaker is Paul Wallis, Chief Probation Officer of the Department of Juvenile Justice in Judicial District 1. Wallis’ office evaluates and determines the appropriate diversion sentences for our children. He has been in this position for 30 years and was instrumental in the creation of the Civil Citation program in Judicial District 1.


DeeDee is standing between two of her lifelong friends from High School, Robin Allen and Donna Ryan. DeeDee is standing between two of her lifelong friends from High School, Robin Allen and Donna Ryan. His talk covers such topics as: “When two children get into a fight, what happens next? Are they separated, counseled, parents informed and sent on their way? Or are they arrested, fingerprinted and possibly tried and sentenced in adult court with the lifelong burden of a criminal record? It could happen.”

The menu is greens with Mandarin oranges, mangoes, diced tomatoes and Parmesan cheese garlic chicken on a bed of tomato orzo noodles with basil cream sauce and sautéed asparagus with lemon cake as dessert. Coffee/tea will be served. A vegetarian or gluten-free selection is available upon request. The cost is $25

You may also pay your dues with your check for lunch or with PayPal. Individual dues are $55; Additional Members: $27.50. You may to make wish to make additional contributions.

Make reservations by noon May 9 at the League website at www.lwvpba.org. For further information about reservations, call Vivian Faircloth, 850-439- 5539, vfaircloth@iname.com or lwvpba@gmail.com. Mail checks to LWVPBA Treasurer, P.O. Box 2023, Pensacola, FL, 32513

Santa Rosa Republican Women

The Santa Rosa Republican Women meet the fourth Tuesday of each month at The Club Hidden Creek, 3070 PGA Blvd., Navarre. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 25.

Socializing begins at 11 AM. Guest speaker, Michelle Jones, City Director, Refuge for Women Emerald Coast, will present “Human Trafficking” at 11:30 AM. Lunch will be served at 12 noon followed by a short business meeting. The cost of the luncheon is $15, payable at the door. Checks are to be made payable to The Club Hidden Creek.

RSVP for the Tuesday, April 25 luncheon meeting. Contact Jodi Volmert at jodi.volmert@me.com or 850-936-6941 to confirm your reservation. When you contact Jodi, please let her know if you have any special dietary needs.

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