Delphine J. Aldecoa Obituary

Delphine J. Aldecoa

Delphine J. Aldecoa, affectionally known as “Aunt Del”, passed away at her home March 20, 2020 at the age of 97. Delphine was born September 9, 1922 in Boise to John Domingo and Maria Pagoaga Aldecoa, who immigrated from the Basque Country. She was the fifth of their five children, Maurina, Basil, Manuel, and Bene. Delphine had a wonderful childhood with her siblings and cousins in Boise with summer visits to her father’s mountain sheep camps. Del began first grade at St. Theresa’s Academy at the age of four and graduated at 16. She attended the University of Idaho graduating in 1942, where she was a member of Alpha Phi Sorority and a Fiji Wonder Girl. She was an excellent student, but found time for golf, tennis, and dancing. When World War II broke out, Del and her sister, Bene, were hired as FAA Air Traffic Controllers in Great Falls, Montana. They were young college graduates thrown into the infancy of air traffic control and Del loved it! At the end of the war, she competed for a job at the Boise Air Terminal. Garnering this position speaks to her competence as this was considered a man’s world and typically fell to Gls returning from the war. By 1971, she rose to Assistant Chief and many grateful pilots told stories of that clear, calm, professional voice guiding them to safety. In 1971, Del became Tower Chief at Hillsboro, Oregon. She was the first woman Air Traffic Control Tower Chief in the Pacific Northwest, and the second woman Tower Chief in the U.S. She left that position in 1975 and returned to Boise to help with her aging parents. During her career she was honored in the Idaho Aviation Hall of Fame, and a plaque with her picture is in the Boise Airport as well as seven other Idaho airports. Her honors include the Amelia Earhart Medal, Northwest Aviation Council Achievement Award, Federal Business Association Outstanding Service Award, and the Idaho Statesman Distinguished Citizen Award. Del lead an exceptional life for a woman of her era entering a field typically designated for men, but who earned her advanced positions through hard work, professionalism, and competence. Throughout, she was a lady who earned her colleagues’ respect. Although Del’s career was important, family, friends, and community were integral to her life. While working she served as President of the Jr. League of Boise as well as volunteering at St. Alphonsus Hospital. She was a delightful hostess for many friends and enjoyed golf and tennis at Hillcrest Country Club. She sadly had lost her fiancé during the war, but her nieces, nephews, and godchildren replaced the children she might have had. They all loved and respected her. She was a mentor, friend, and aunt. Her charm and ability to bring calm to turbulence was infamous. She had a talent for listening nonjudgmentally and offering sage guidance through problems. She taught her nieces and nephews bridge and water skiing. All have great memories of vacations in McCall and were the recipients of bountiful gifts from her worldwide travels. In her last few years, she looked forward to spring trips to Arizona with her nieces for shopping and sun. She loved family Sunday dinners and was so appreciative of the ladies from “Bridges” and Hospice who made staying in her home possible. Our family has lost the last of her generation and we are all saddened as there is a large empty place in our lives. Delphine is survived by three nieces, Patricia Ely, Suzanne Brown, and Jeanne Wilson, and her nephew John Wilson as well as their families. Due to the “virus” a funeral and celebration of Delphine’s life will be postponed. In Delphine’s memory donations to Sacred Heart Parish, Boise would be welcome. She was a lifelong member of Sacred Heart Church and a devoted Catholic.
September 9, 1922 - March 20, 202009/09/192203/20/2020
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Obituary

Delphine J. Aldecoa, affectionally known as “Aunt Del”, passed away at her home March 20, 2020 at the age of 97. Delphine was born September 9, 1922 in Boise to John Domingo and Maria Pagoaga Aldecoa, who immigrated from the Basque Country. She was the fifth of their five children, Maurina, Basil, Manuel, and Bene.Delphine had a wonderful childhood with her siblings and cousins in Boise with summer visits to her father’s mountain sheep camps. Del began first grade at St. Theresa’s Academy a...

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