Recently I stayed overnight at my sister’s house. After dinner she pulled a large plastic storage tub from the closet. It contained old photos, guest books, and various other memorabilia from our parents after their deaths more than 10 years ago. She wanted help deciding what to keep. We sorted most of the contents that evening. The next morning I looked at the rest and found two thick scrapbooks Mom had kept. The books had newspaper clippings from the 1960s to the late 1990s covering a wide range of topics. They were interesting and brought back many memories. This clipping from 1986 caught my attention.
Good Hope is a small town in west-central Illinois. My parents moved from their farm home to Good Hope about 1980 as Dad neared retirement from farming.
On 13 Aug 1986, Republic Airlines Flight 586 was headed from Phoenix to Detroit. Passenger Tammy Martin, 20, of Mt. Clemmens, MI was going home to join her husband Thomas. She was 7 months pregnant. During the flight, Tammy noticed her baby was about to arrive two months prematurely. A call went out on the plane for a doctor or nurse. An obstetrician-gynecologist, a nurse and a paramedic were on board. Tammy was taken to the back of the plane where she was placed on the floor to be more comfortable.
Cheers went up from the passengers when they heard cries of the baby. Her medical team ″used dental floss to tie the umbilical cord and cut it with a butter knife. She had excellent attention.″ The pilot informed the passengers and new mother that the baby was born while in the sky over Good Hope. “I was embarrassed” said Tammy.
Since it was premature and in an airplane cabin at reduced pressure, the baby suffered from respiratory distress. The flight was diverted to Chicago where the baby was taken to Resurrection Hospital. Husband Thomas drove all night from Detroit to be with them. This photo from the Cumberland News in Maryland indicated it was a nationwide story for a time.
Sky births are rare. But they do occur. This one was pinpointed over the town of Good Hope. The baby was given the name James Good Hope Sky Martin.
In searching for James in other more recent sources, one from nearby Western Illinois University noted James was to be Grand Marshall of the 28th Good Hope Sodbuster Days parade in 2002.
I also found an entry in the Gardner News in Kansas. It listed the marriage of James Good Hope Sky Martin to Angela Renae Besta in 2013. Apparently, James uses his full name for legal purposes.
AP story by Nicholas Geranios
UPI archive story.
Gardner News of northeast Kansas for notice of marriages and divorces.
The Cumberland News of Cumberland Maryland.
The Western Courier of Western Illinois University.