joolee's forty

forty days. forty stories.

Nelson Aurand

Nelson Aurand

Nelson Aurand

Viewing Mifflin County from the air, you will know that pilots live here. The rocky ridges of central Pennsylvania cloaked in beautiful hardwoods and pine forest separate rich farming valleys. But among the checkerboard of fields, dotted with barns and silos, the telltale orange windsocks will give away those long grassy strips as private airfields. Look again, and a good deal of those barns turn out to be hangars.

The chart of the Ferguson Valley indicates a grass strip called Jenson Field beside the family farmhouse where Nelson Aurand was born. Nelson taught high school and later raised pigs on the land that had been home to four generations of Aurands. He flew a small PA12 until the family outgrew it.

The Aurand family (from right: Julie, Genevieve, Jeanette, and Nelson with cousin Kristen in his arms) with the Cessna 170B four-seater, Easter, 1973.

Julie’s mom, Genevieve (Jennie) explained “We took one trip up to West VA to see Nelson’s sister, Jean and family, in that cream and red, PA12,  before Julz was one month old,” says Jennie now.  “I said – ‘Never again.’  We need a 4 place.”

They bought a blue, black and white Cessna 170B, a four seater. Julie remembers family trips to the shore and to visit relatives in it.

Nelson died in the 1987 in the same house where he was born. But aviation is still important in the family. Julie got her Private Pilots License in Alaska and has flown solo flights between the villages of the Kuskokwim River. Jennie remarried into a family of pilots from the next valley over: The McCardle family home has a grass strip. Harv is a pilot, as are his brother and father, and the family hangar has a number of planes in various degrees of construction.

One comment on “Nelson Aurand

  1. joolee
    March 16, 2012

    Genefee picks ’em good 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

read stories by date

March 2023

suggest a story

Joolee has a lot of friends. We’ve got forty days. We’re looking for the forty most iconic tales and illuminating anecdotes to share with the whole lot. Got one? Know someone we overlooked? Suggest a story.

send a wish

Want to send a birthday wish to Joolee? Post something today on the Wishes page.

got photos of joolee?

Got an image that's too good to pass up? Drop us a line at joolee's forty


joolee's birthdayApril 9, 2012
days till Joolee's forty
%d bloggers like this: