Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum

Glen Kingsley

   

By Cathy Skrypek

Glen is indeed a rare man. He can go most anywhere with 150 women and his wife does not get mad at him. He’s a kind, gentle quilter with a fascinating career.

Born in Tucson, Arizona in January 1931, Glen lost his father two months before turning four, and his mother at seventeen. Like many of us, neither parent quilted. While at West Point and vacationing with his aunt in Washington, DC, Glen met Jane, his wife of fifty years.

Glen graduated in 1952, and they were married at the Andrews Air Force Space Chapel, then off to pilot training, instructor pilot and the Institute of Technology at Wright Patterson for his master’s degree in aeronautical engineering. He stayed for four years working on F102 and F106 fighter intercept aircraft, then to the North American Aviation Air Force Plant to work on B70s and X15s.

He completed his tour with the Air Force and went to work for Grumman Aircraft, working on the lunar module. Imagine this – when the astronauts were not available for primary testing, he took their place. He worked on anything the astronauts would do. Glen spent more time in defined extra vehicular activity condition (no air/oxygen) than most astronauts. When the Apollo program ended, he went to work on the F14, monitoring flight test engineering, then to Iran for three years with the Iranian Air Force training program for the F14. After his return, Glen was assigned to the Proposal Center where he worked on proposals to all government agencies, primarily high-energy physics.

During this time, wife Jane took an adult education class in quilting. She and five other quilters formed a guild at the local quilt shop. The shop’s block of the month pattern was drawn in pencil on quadrille paper and did not fit together after cutting. Glen computerized their patterns and continued to do so for the next eight years.

Glen retired from Grumman in 1992. While in New York their youngest son was to be married. Glen and Jane planned to give the couple a queen size quilt as a gift. She picked the fabric, he cut, she sewed and both hand quilted. Then the couple decided on a king size bed. Well, they received the top for the wedding. Two years later they received the hand-quilted king size quilt.

There were seventeen major snowstorms their last year in Long Island, New York. They wanted a warmer climate.

After settling in Georgia, Jane and Glen attended their first Quilters Retreat in Toccoa. Pam Doffek’s class on Manipulated Fabric was his first experience in sewing for and by himself. He enjoyed himself so much that they have gone to Toccoa ever since.

He is active in the West Georgia Quilt Guild and very supportive of Jane’s roles as past Vice President and chair of their 2003 quilt show. They are “floater” members of the Pinetree Quilt Guild in Maine, which has 1800 members and meets quarterly. He exhibited “Manipulated Fabric” in their juried show. Desiring to finish his quilts faster, Glen purchased a Handi Quilter.

Glen is an invaluable member of the Georgia Quilt Council. He and Jane have been Physical Assets co-chairs for the past four years. He also heads a special Committee for Interstate Information Exchange where he will contact neighboring states, sharing information on activities and shows.

Yearly, Glen prepares tax forms for H & R Block. In 2002, he attended West Point’s 50th class reunion, celebrated 50 years of marriage and West Point’s 200th anniversary. The couple square danced for many years and worked together on their costumes. He knits and won a ribbon for knitting a shawl for his wife.

In his spare time, Glen is finishing their home, participates in Farm City Days with the Master Gardeners where he quilts and every year they demonstrate the art of quilting at the Whitesburg Elementary School, inspiring new quilters.

When asked how his friends responded to his hobby, Glen said, “You must be very comfortable with yourself to tell them.” The wife of one of his West Point classmates is a quilt teacher and he said, “What did you do that for? Now I’m in the doghouse.” Many friends think it’s great. We do too!

February 2003