Marilyn Miller Alderman, age 73, died peacefully at her home in Hockessin, DE, on Sunday, May 5, 2013, in the presence of her husband George E. Alderman, daughter Lauren Alderman, granddaughter Jade, son Paul J. Alderman, and cousin Ralph T. Schwab of Albuquerque, NM. Caregivers also included brother John D. Miller, daughter-in-law Heather O. Alderman, granddaughter Hanna, and her best friend Audrey Watson of Delmar, NY.
Marilyn was born November 13, 1939 in Erie, PA, daughter of Jane H. Delo Miller and George H. Miller. She attended Penn Elementary and East High schools, graduating with honors in 1957. She then entered Oberlin College in Ohio, graduating again with honors in chemistry and art in 1961. She began working with Hercules, Inc. in Delaware in 1961 and when the Triumph TR3 she was driving had a problem her friends told her to take it to George Alderman, who was just beginning his business of repairing sports cars. On November 24, 1962, Marilyn married George in Erie, PA. Marilyn continued working at Hercules until 1966 when Lauren was born and George needed help building his recently acquired Datsun dealership; they also sold Lotus and Rover.
Until the sale of their Nissan franchise in 1994, Marilyn was a major contributor to the success of the business, running the accounting department, as well as working side by side with George, while raising two wonderful children, and going to the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) races with George. She even got her own SCCA Regional racing license and ran a few races and hill climb events before Lauren was born.
In June 1984, Marilyn became interested in flying, in order to get back and forth from the various race tracks more quickly. She bought a Piper Cherokee with her flight instructor and by December 1984 had her private pilot certificate. She obtained her instrument rating in July 1985 and her commercial certificate in June 1986. Marilyn’s next challenge was to fly a twin engine plane, so she bought a Seneca III and by September 1987 she earned her multi-engine rating. She got the Part 135 rating in September 1990 and her Airline Transport certificate in July 1993. In November 1997 she began training at Flight Safety International and flew part-time as copilot with the Westwind and Astra Corporate Jet Group until November 2005, at which time she had logged more than 4000 hours of flight time. She really loved to fly and would gladly take friends and family flying, and employees on business trips, to meetings, or to the races.
Marilyn’s achievements, honors, and affiliations are widely known and include the following: charter member Wilmington Manor Rotary Club; two terms Rotary District Treasurer; active member International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians; member Brandywine Motorsport Club; Treasurer, Delaware Chapter of The Ninety-Nines, Inc. (International Organization of Women Pilots) and Governor of its Mid-Atlantic Section; founding director Delaware Aviation Support, Inc. (DASI); founding trustee and treasurer of the Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame; and twice a successful competitor in 1991 and 1993 with Caroline Lunger in the Air Race Classic (Trans-Continental Air Race for Women Pilots). The airplane, a TB20 (Trinidad) affectionately called “Trini” was Marilyn’s favorite, owned jointly first with Brett Lunger, then later with John Poore. In 2006, Marilyn was the first member of the board to be inducted into the Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame.
A memorial service will be held at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 2313 Concord Pike (Fairfax), Wilmington, DE, on Saturday, May 25th, at 11 am, where visitation will begin at 9:30 am. A reception will follow the service in the church auditorium.
Donations in lieu of flowers are encouraged for Cancer Support Community Delaware, 4810 Lancaster Pike, Wilmington, DE 19807; or to The Ninety-Nines Endowment Fund, Virginia Harmer, Treasurer, 8627 Banyan Street, Alta Loma, CA 91701; or to the Delaware Chapter of The Ninety-Nines Marilyn Alderman Memorial Scholarship, c/o Ellen Nobles-Harris, 2424 Dorval Road, Wilmington, DE 19810-3529.