York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Pioneering aviator Aline Rhonie another York native who made U.S. headlines

Sarah Byrn Rickman’s book “The Originals” covers women of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron in World War II and contains a profile on York native Aline Rhonie. Background posts: York County sacrificed on homefront and war front to aid Allies in World War II and York County WWII nurse: ‘You know, it was the biggest war ever, and they needed nurses’ and ‘Her words helped win the war’.

Her name was Aline Rhonie Hofheimer and later Aline Rhonie.
But a biography says that for some unknown reason, everyone called her Pat.
The Warren Township (N.J.) Historical Society begins the biography with:
“Pioneer aviatrix, socialite, company president, horsewoman, wartime pilot and artist, Aline Rhonie Hofheimer lived an exceptional life, one that only now, over 40 years after her death, is being chronicled by aviation historians.”
And she was born on Aug. 16, 1909, in York, Pa… .

She is featured in Sarah Byrn Rickman’s book “The Originals” for her work with the WAFS, the Women’s Auxiliary Flying Squadron, in World War II. If an aircraft had to be moved from Point A to Point B in the United States, Pat and other WAFS took care of that chore.
Rickman wrote that Pat was the the first woman to make a solo flight from New York to Mexico City and back.
Archivist Lila Fourhman-Shaull scoured York County Heritage Trust files for information on the Rhonie Family.
She was born in York, daughter of Arthur and Helen Milius Hofheimer. Her father was listed as general manager of the Heany Co. and the family lived at 663 Linden Avenue. The archivist conjectured that the family relocated closer to Heany’s New York headquarters.
Joe DuPoint of Warren, N.J., e-mailed recently that some in his township are working for a war memorial with her name on it.
Though she died in 1963, her work is still admired.
According to her bio, her paintings included a fresco for the Smithsonian, and her artwork is scattered in private collections.
Perhaps some local collector could secure one of her pieces for public display in her hometown.
That would be an apt local celebration of another native of York, Pa. who has made national headlines.
Other posts of interest linked to York County women in World War II:
‘Her words helped win the war.’
Nurses and their work appear again and again in York County’s past.
York County WWII nurse: ‘You know, it was the biggest war ever, and they needed nurses’.