Esther Noffke Memorial Aviation Scholarship

The Esther Noffke Memorial Aviation Scholarship was established to honor the memory of Esther Emma Rose Noftke and her contributions to aviation education. During World War II, Ms. Noftke joined Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and was assigned to the 318th AAF Flying Detachment in Sweetwater, TX. She received her pilot certificate in June 1944 and was assigned B-26 flying duty at McGowen Field, in Boise, ID where she flew military air training equipment around the country.

After her military service, Ms. Noffke moved to Chicago and worked as a secretary before moving to Wheeling and teaching flying lessons at Palwaukee. There she met George Priester, a fellow flight instructor and founder of Priester Aviation, whom she began working for as a flight instructor in 1945.

Ms. Noftke worked as a flight instructor with Priester Aviation through the 1970s and later served as the company’s administrative assistant, overseeing its day-to-day operations at Chicago Executive Airport. She continued working for Priester Aviation until she passed away in 2013 at the age of 91.

In April 2010, Ms. Noffke received the Congressional Gold Medal as members of WASP were recognized for service to their country. From 1970 to 1972, she served on the Women’s Advisory Committee on Aviation under President Johnson. In 1997, she was elected to the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame.

Ms. Noffke was one of just over 1,000 women selected for the WASPs out of more than 25,000 applicants. Her pioneering spirit and dedicated service will long be remembered and appreciated by new generations of aviation students.

*Scholarship for a student in Aviation Flight, Aviation Management, or Aviation Technologies.
*Recipient must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75.
*Applicants must submit a 250-word essay discussing their ideas for promoting aviation as a career and encouraging more women to seek jobs in the aviation industry.

Charlie Priester
Area of Interest
College of Health and Human Sciences, School of Aviation