Blanche Ellen Hearst Hill

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Blanche Ellen Hearst Hill (Wilbur)

Birthplace: Idaho Falls, Bonneville County, Idaho, United States
Death: Died in Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Warren Abbott Wilbur and Kate Ellen Wilbur
Wife of Cortlandt Taylor Hill
Ex-wife of George Randolph Hearst, Sr.
Mother of George Randolph Hearst, Jr. and Phoebe Hearst Cooke (twin)

Managed by: Marion Rose Lake
Last Updated:

About Blanche Ellen Hearst Hill

A pioneering aviation enthusiast who helped found two early aircraft industry companies and a technical training school has died in her Pasadena home.

Blanche Wilbur Hill, an Idaho-born philanthropist and socialite who obtained her pilot's license in 1931, when few women had even been in an airplane, was 85. She was first married to George Randolph Hearst, the eldest son of publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst, and later married Cortland Taylor Hill, grandson of railroad magnate James J. Hill.

Sponsored Air Racers

In 1927, her family said, the 25-year-old woman joined engineer John K. Northrop in helping to start Avion Corp., which manufactured early all-metal aircraft. Her mother, Ada Chadwick Wilbur, was vice president of the Los Angeles company.

That same year, she joined her father-in-law, Hearst, in sponsoring an entry in the Dole Derby, a perilous Oakland-to-Honolulu race. Ten of the 15 competitors were lost at sea, including the Hearst entry, the Golden Eagle--a wooden monoplane--and its two-man crew.

In 1933, she became founding president of Northill, an aircraft development and manufacturing company that merged with the Garrett Corp. in 1940, her family said. She also founded and headed the Aeronautical Industry Technical Institute, a training firm for aircraft industry workers.

She was born in Twin Falls, Ida., and attended Sullins College in Virginia and UC Berkeley.

During her nine-year marriage to Hearst, she had twins, George Hearst Jr., former publisher of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, and Phoebe Millicent Cooke, now of Woodside.

In 1934 she married Hill, and the couple helped organize skiing events at both the 1948 and 1952 Winter Olympics. They were divorced in 1952.

During World War II, she headed the Los Angeles division of the Motor Corps for the American Red Cross and worked with Nurses' Aides, organizing the first class of junior nurses' aides in the country.

Hill took part in Republican Party politics, serving on the National Republican Congressional Committee and the U.S. Senatorial Club.

Her civic and charitable work included the Junior League and the local chapter of Recordings for the Blind.

Besides her son and daughter, she is survived by six grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and a sister.


Blanche Wilbur married George Randolph Hearst on 02 Apr 1924 she was born 19 Jun 1905 in Idaho Falls, Bonneville, ID she died on 15 Dec 1987 in Pasadena, Los Angeles, CA

Blanche divorced George Randolph Hearst on 11 Jun 1932

Blanche Remarried to Cortlandt Taylor Hill on 31 Mar 1934 at the Ritz Tower, Park Avenue, NYC, NY

Cortlandt Taylor Hill was born on 31 Mar 1906 in St Paul, Ramsey, MN and died on 21 Mar 1978 in Monterey, CA

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Blanche Ellen Hearst Hill's Timeline

June 19, 1905
Idaho Falls, Bonneville County, Idaho, United States
July 13, 1927
Age 22
San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, USA
Age 21
December 15, 1987
Age 82
Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California, United States