In 1940, Sybil Peacock Harmon was a 24-year-old nursing school graduate when she was hired by Delta Air Lines Inc. for a newly created job category: flight attendant, or “stewardess” as it was called then. When Harmon turned 102 in July, Delta joined with Celebration Village to throw her a first-class birthday party.
She is something of a celebrity among Delta employees, thanks to a display in the Delta Flight Museum about her experiences as one of the company’s first flight attendants.
Harmon reminisced about the early years at Delta. “This was the beginning, really, of people flying,” she said. “On Sundays, whole families would line the fence. When I walked up to the plane in my uniform, kids would say, ‘Look, there she is. There’s the stewardess.’ It was a lot of fun.”
Harmon’s birthday party was held at her Celebration Village home in Acworth. Delta representatives brought the cutout display of Harmon from the airline’s museum, presented her with new flight wings, and provided a cake decorated with a replica of the plane she worked on – a DC-3. More than 100 of her family, friends and Celebration Village neighbors attended the event.
“Sybil [Harmon] is a lively member of our community, and we’re so pleased to have this opportunity to honor her amazing life,” said Keith Magnan, executive director of Celebration Village. “She’s proof that active, engaged people can thrive at any age.”
Harmon left Delta in 1943 to join the military, where she rose to the rank of first lieutenant in the 830th Medical Air Evacuation Squadron. She left the military after World War II, married, raised a family, served as an obstetrics nurse, and then became a travel agent before retiring in 1985.
“Our goal at Celebration Village is to provide an environment that fosters strong social connections, and that’s how Sybil’s birthday was brought to Delta’s attention,” Magnan said. “Another Celebration Village resident who had gotten to know Sybil shared her story with his son, who in turn shared it with a Delta flight attendant during a recent business flight. When the attendant asked if he was referring to the well-known Sybil Peacock Harmon, the connection was made, and the excitement ignited.”
– Keith Magnan, executive director of Celebration Village, and vice president of operations for AgeWell Living.