Dolly's Background

Being a dainty girl with doll-like features, she was nicknamed "Dolly" as a child. Never growing beyond 5 feet and weighing 100 pounds, the childhood name stayed with her as an adult.

After graduating from San Benito High School, Dolly attened Brownsville Junior College. She decided to enroll in nurses' training at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston where she received her R.N. certificate.

On Febuary 20, 1917, a terrible conflict wreaked destruction throughout Europe and threatened the United States. While in the peaceful Rio Grande Valley, Dr. and Mrs. W.J. Vinsant rejoiced in the birth of their only child, Wilma.

Born during one of the most turbulent periods in world history, Wilma Vinsant grew up in the shadow of an even more terrible war-a global holocaust which later took her life.

Her childhood was spent in San Benito, a new frontier bursting with adventure. The carefree twenties celebrated, in other parts of the country, were years of struggle and survival for residents in the Valley.

Living in this enviornment of courageous friends and relatives instilled Wilma with a lifelong trait of inner strength.


Another influental factor in the character devlopment of Wilma Vinsant was her father's work as a doctor and her mother's as a nurse. Daily she watched them heal the sick and restore broken bodies. A sense of caring for the people became a part of her personality.

The thirties,being an era of widespread interest in aviation, aroused Dolly's adventurous nature toward flying. Also, the daring feats of Amelia Earhart stirred the thoughts of young women seeking new experiences. Dolly tried a new career with Braniff airways as a flight nurse.

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