Elizabeth Iva “Pete” Plunkett, 90, resident of Friday Harbor, WA, passed away on September 22, 2016. Pete was born October 10, 1925 in Seattle, the third daughter of the Reverend and Mrs. Thomas Nichols Plunkett. She graduated from Edmonds High School in 1943 and attended the University of Washington, majoring in mechanical engineering.
She started with Boeing in her sophomore year as a draftsman and there she remained for the next 38 years, working her way up to Engineering Technical Laboratory Manager; where she oversaw two laboratories that provided experimental test facilities for all commercial airplanes. For several years she worked as a research analyst and test director for aeroelastic models of hypersonic orbital and space flight systems during the very beginning of the U.S. space program.
During her career, she was an officer in both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Society of Women Engineers. She was a successful engineer in the aviation and astronautical fields. She received many honors and was a member of many committees and appeared in many publications. Just to name a few additional: American Society of Quality Control; Women’s Education Equality Project at Everett Community College; she was the first woman president for two terms of the Puget Sound Engineering Council which was composed of 22 societies representing 6,000 engineers; Washington Society of Professional Engineers; received the Matrix Task Award for Women in Communication Inc., … the list goes on and on.
She owned property on San Juan Island with her friend, Shirley Holmgreen since 1964 and together they built their retirement home at Cape San Juan in 1978. She retired in 1985 but that did not slow her down. She was president of the Cape San Juan Home Owners Association from 1986-1999; received the Outstanding Commissioner of 1991 from the WA State Water/Wastewater Association; was Chairman of the Citizens Water Advisory Committee for San Juan County for six years; she was on the Cape San Juan District Board for nine years; designed and supervised construction of the new community marina; a volunteer firefighter for 17 years; and was the Natural Areas Site Steward for the Department of Natural Resources property on San Juan Island. She was an active member of the U.S. Power Squadron and taught engine maintenance for the Friday Harbor Squadron.
She enjoyed many years of power boating in Canada and the San Juan Islands. RV’ing was another favorite means of travelling around the U.S. and Canada.
She is survived by one niece, Patricia Bayse of Wiggins, Mississippi and one nephew, Kenneth Summersun of San Diego, Calif., and many, many friends.
Arrangements are in the care of Evans Chapel and Crematory Inc., of Anacortes, WA and the San Juan Islands. To share a memory of “Pete” please visit www.evanschapel.com and sign the online guest register.