Funeral Mass offered at Virginia church for world’s longest-serving flight attendant

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Bette Nash
Bette Nash, the world's longest-serving flight attendant, is pictured in an undated photo. Nash died May 17, 2024, at age 88. A funeral Mass was offered for her June 10 at Sacred Heart Church in Manassas, Va. She was a flight attendant for nearly 70 years. (OSV News photo/courtesy via Arlington Catholic Herald)

MANASSAS, Va. (OSV News) — A funeral Mass was offered June 10 at Sacred Heart Church in Manassas for Bette Nash, the world’s longest-serving flight attendant, who died May 17 at age 88. A parishioner of Sacred Heart, she had been diagnosed recently with breast cancer.

The oldest of three sisters, Nash was born Dec. 31, 1935, and grew up just outside Atlantic City, New Jersey. After working as a secretary, Nash took a job as a flight attendant with Eastern Airlines in 1957 at age 21. She began working the shuttle flight between Boston and Washington, where she lived, allowing her to stay at home every night. She would continue to fly that route for nearly 70 years, even after the route was acquired by American Airlines.

Witness to aviation history

Over the course of her career, Nash witnessed notable changes in aviation, particularly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. She was awarded the Guinness World Record title for longest-serving flight attendant in 2022. Nash never retired from her position.

“My favorite part of flying over the years has been greeting my passengers as they board and deplane,” Nash said in 2017 during a ceremony at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport marking her 60th year as a flight attendant. “People really are fascinating and it’s truly been a joy.”

Tributes from the aviation community

In a May 25 Facebook post, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said that over her “remarkable career,” Nash “touched countless lives with her warmth, dedication, and unparalleled service. Her passion for flying and her commitment to her passengers were truly inspiring. Bette’s legacy will forever be remembered in the aviation community and by all who had the privilege of knowing her.”

Following her death, her employer, American Airlines, released a statement on X, formerly Twitter: “Bette inspired generations of flight attendants. Fly high, Bette.”

Nash is survived by her son, Christian.

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