South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Tesson Heights resident’s dream takes flight with Cedarhurst’s ‘Dream Come True’

96-year-old Tesson Ridge resident gets to fly again
Photo by Ellie Marshall
Evelyn Kidd’s daughter, Janet Singleton, records the special moments before her mother’s takeoff. Growing up, the family spent many weekends soaring through the sky as Gene Kidd, Evelyn’s late husband was a skilled pilot. “He was an aircraft mechanic in the Navy,” Kidd said. “That’s why we could afford an airplane, because he could maintain it.”

Evelyn Kidd has long had a passion for flying. So when the 96-year-old Tesson Heights resident was awarded a “Dream Come True” through Cedarhurst Senior Living, it was a no-brainer what she would choose: another chance to soar among the clouds.

On June 11, Kidd’s dream was fulfilled as she took off in a Cessna from the Spirit of St. Louis Airport. Accompanied by her friend and fellow Tesson Heights resident Beverly Beckman,  along with a pilot from Elite Aviation, Kidd flew over St. Louis, taking in sights only visible from the air.

“Oh, it was wonderful,” Kidd said following the flight. “I loved going up along the Mississippi, where the two rivers join, the Missouri and the Mississippi. I really enjoyed that. It was a terrific trip. They offered to let me fly, but I didn’t. I said no thank you, it’s been too many years.”

Cedarhurst of Tesson Heights resident Evelyn Kidd sits in a Cessna, provided by Elite Aviation, awaiting takeoff on June 11. (Photo by Ellie Marshall)

Though she never obtained her pilot’s license due to “navigational challenges,” Kidd has extensive experience up in the air. In the late 1940s, her husband Gene, a Navy aircraft mechanic, restored a wrecked airplane and got his pilot’s license, leading to countless weekends spent flying around the area. Before taking off, Kidd recounted some of those experiences.

“We flew out to my husband’s aunt and uncle’s – they had a farm near Sullivan, Missouri. We landed out there and they gave us tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and all that. He made the mistake of putting me in the backseat with all the produce, and he almost didn’t get off the ground because of the weight,” she said, laughing.

After the passing of her husband, Kidd decided to move from the house they shared to Cedarhurst of Tesson Heights.

“Cedarhurst, I’ve met so many nice people there. It’s not home, but it’s the next best thing to home,” Kidd said.

A resident since 2019, she has been described as “spry and proud of it,” “musical” and “super active in the community.”

“It’s bringing tears to my eyes today to see her having so much fun,” said Kim Jines, life and enrichment director at Cedarhurst. “We’re just excited this is getting to happen for her. It’s a great program Cedarhurst does.”

The program, Cedarhurst’s “Dream Come True,” was established last year to do just that: make dreams come true. It allows one resident chosen at random from each of Cedarhurst’s nearly 60 communities from across the Midwest to do anything their hearts desire. From skydiving to ziplining to box seats at major sporting events, the seniors chosen have shown that aging can be the biggest adventure yet.

“The idea behind this kind of falls into our mission, which is to help residents live their life to the fullest,” said Tara Powell, director of education and engagement for Cedarhurst. “Even though you’re aging, that doesn’t mean that you’re incapable of having a dream.”