Ona Marie Gieschen, traveler of the world, naturalist and amateur historian passed away on February 22, 2019 at John Knox Village. Ona was born September 5, 1924 outside Smithton, MO to John and Hattie (Maunken) Gieschen. She was the 3rd of 5 children who have all preceded her in death.
Upon completing her education at Missouri Teachers College, she returned to teach in a one-room school at Blackjack. Her desire to investigate the world led Ona to Kansas City where she would employ with TWA in advertising and then a successful 40-year career of Air Hostess. She experienced the opportunity to supervise, to become a director of customer service and help crew a six week flight known as “The Great World Air Cruise of 1970”. Ona experienced flight on most every commercial American built airliner from the DC-3 to the 767.
Upon retirement, Ona’s meticulous research developed her to become an accomplished historian for: Save a Connie/Airline Museum in Kansas City; Trails West museum artifact collection; Watt’s Mill in Dallas Missouri primary research via taped interviews of family members; Pettis County genealogical; and of course, native prairie land. Her dedication and commitment to accurately documenting these topics can be found in papers filed with the Western Historical Manuscript collection and the State Historical Society.
Ona also actively managed her inherited native tall grass prairie, the “Gieschen Family Prairie”. On most weekends you could find her riding her 4-wheeler to manage plants while preparing for tours and visitors from the Missouri Conservation Department and Powell Gardens. Powell Gardens will continue to manage this educational treasure.
Ona was blessed with 16 nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren, and the countless volunteers whose paths she crossed and determinedly learned with her. For those who share Ona’s passion to study aviation, research, education, travel, history, or land management and conservation -- Blue Skies…and Gone West…
The family will gather to remember her life on her prairie at a later date.
Friend ,Windsor ,Missouri
She was a wonderful gal. I spent many happy hours working with her on her prairie. She left quite a legacy. Pleased and blessed to have known her. Condolences to her family.