First female pilot in Catawba passes

 Newton native Julius Frances Abernethy Huitt, who set a local record for women in previously male achievements before she and her husband moved to Hawaii more than half a century ago, has died in her adopted state.

The youngest of three children of the late Frances Shrum Abernethy and Julius Whitener Abernethy, she was 86 at the time of her death on Feb. 25. Her husband, Dr. John Dempsey Huitt, also a Newton native, preceded her in death, as did a daughter, one of their five children.

Funeral rites will be performed March 21 at her family’s church in Kailua on Oahu Island, where she resided. Her sister-in-law, Christine Sigmon Abernethy, the widow of J. W. Abernethy, Jr., and nephew James Shuford “Jimmy” Abernethy of Newton visited her last year, Mrs. Abernethy said. She said the local family will be represented at the funeral by niece Frances Lena of Dallas, Texas, daughter of Huitt’s elder sister, the late Lura Abernethy Rader.

To read more of this story, pick up the Friday edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.