Born in an Army hospital in Denver, Colorado, Nancy is the daughter of two Army Air Force pilots: William Allison Parrish and Deanie Bishop Parrish.   As a child in an Air Force family, before fifth grade, she had attended 7 different grade schools, from Tokyo to Texas.  Although her handwriting skills were seriously compromised, everything else about the experience has added rich layers to her life and made her very proud to be an Air Force ‘brat’.

After 2 years at Baylor University, she postponed her last two years of college to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity -- a 7 month USO tour, entertaining the troops in Alaska, Korea, Philippines, the Far East and the Pacific.   The postponement lasted 5 years. During that time, she joined the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and ASCAP, and co-founded “Tomorrow’s Sunshine,” a show group, headlining at Tomorrow Land at Walt Disney World, the Flamingo Hilton in Vegas, the Diplomat in Miami, the Princess Hotel, Bermuda and many points in between.

Nancy completed her education (BA from the University of Houston, 1976, and Master’s Degree in Directing from Baylor University, 1980), and returned to music and film, with stops in Nashville and MGM Studios, Florida. Her career path has given her the opportunity to work professionally as an actor, singer, talent agent, casting director, producer, and writer.   In 1992, she took her experience working as a casting director and talent agent, as well as an actor and turned it into a script that she co-wrote: “How to Break Into Show Business Without Breaking Your Heart.”  She also served as producer/director for the 45 minute ‘how to’ video.  In 1994, she became a senior producer and writer for KCTF Public Television in Waco, Texas. 

As an anxious producer looking for great material, she soon discovered her mother’s old WWII WASP scrapbook that she had kept since her days flying for her country during World War II. She began researching the subject and could find very little in the library--and nothing in the middle school and high school text books.  It was as if the Women Airforce Service Pilots, the first women in history to fly America’s military aircraft, had never served. 

Nancy decided to make a documentary about these pioneering women pilots.  After interviewing just 3 WASP, showcasing the WASP history became her true passion.  She realized that one documentary would never be enough, so she quit my ‘day’ job, and for more than fourteen years, has been on a mission: to document and share the inspirational, untold history of the WASP with America in as many exciting and different formats as possible. 

In 1996, she created ‘WASP on the WEB’, uploading scanned pictures from her mom’s WASP scrapbook.  Since publishing those first pages, winning “Yahoo Pick of the Week,” and being favourably reviewed by the New York Times, she has created over 2,000 pages of digital information on the WASP, including interactive elements for kids.   Her interactive “WASP Paper Dolls,” is the most popular page on the site, having won praise as an official ‘link’ from NASA on their kids site. 

In 1998, she was determined to give every WASP the opportunity to tell her story on digital video tape.  With encouragement and support from Baylor University and her mother, the WASP, volunteering to serve as the Associate Director, she created ‘Wings Across America’, a multimedia digital history project.    Their mission: to capture, document and preserve the history of the WASP and to get that history into the classrooms of America, where it could inspire generations.

Thanks to the generosity of Steven Spielberg’s “Survivors of the Shoah Foundation,” they adapted the foundation’s proven methodology and traveled to 19 states, interviewing 110 WASP on digital videotape, in the privacy of their own homes.  The digital video archive now holds over 300 hours of priceless, historical information.

In 2003, she convinced the community leadership of Sweetwater, Texas that they needed to honor the WASP with a museum near the grounds where most of the women completed Army Air Force flight training.   That same year, she formed a Museum Board and founded the National WASP WWII Museum.  She volunteered to serve as Executive Director and developed a national membership strategy which led to charter members from all 50 states.  In 2005, she created the exhibits for the museum opening, including a final exhibit, which was completed in 2006, featuring the ‘handprints in cement’ of 29 WASP who attended the opening of the museum. 

In trying to share the WASP history, she has strayed outside the box, where Nancy truly believes this unique information needs to be. She designed the WASP Legacy Afghan (which features unique symbols of the WASP history in one 48” x 78: tapestry); produced the Marching Songs of the WASP; created the WASP Collectible History Cards; successfully nominated the WASP of Texas for the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame; and designed the cover of the Daedalian Magazine, featuring the WASP.

In 2007, she created the ‘FlyGirls of WWII’ WASP Traveling Exhibit, which was on display at the Women’s Memorial at Arlington, VA. until April of 2010 and is now on display at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo in Michigan.  The exhibit also includes another creative way to share the WASP history with “Faces of the WASP,” a mosaic she designed to feature the faces of all 1102 women who served as WASP, an AT-6 advanced trainer, and a West Texas sunset over Avenger Field.

Nancy has written several articles on the WASP (listed) and been asked to be an ‘on camera’ expert for various specials or productions on the WASP including the Pentagon Channel, Voice of America, PBS, Texas Country Reporter and the Department of Defense.

   In 2009, she ran the successful grassroots campaign to persuade Congress to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the WASP and was appointed by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Senator Barbara Mikulski, Rep. Ileana Ros-Leithten and Rep. Susan Davis as the official Congressional liaison to the United States Mint for the designing of the medal.   She also served as the official spokesperson for the WASP in the planning of the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.

In March 2010, she completed her first book, ‘WASP In Their Own Words, An Illustrated History’, a full color, 245 page comprehensive WASP history.  Included are quotes from over 100 WASP, a fully illustrated timeline of WWII, faces of 1,102 WASP, glossary and over 200 illustrations and photographs.

In July 2010, she designed a kiosk version of her mother’s “WASP WWII DIGITAL SCRAPBOOK,” which opened at the Women’s Museum in Dallas, Texas. Nancy's latest's design is a WASP APP--which is the first of its kind--featuring her mom's journey from Florida girl to FlyGirl and beyond. The app is now available at no charge in the ap store.

Over the years, Nancy has been honored to be asked to speak about the WASP, taking up their torch and letting their history shine.  She has created power point presentations and short videos to illustrate the WASP history to audiences that included Zonta International, Texas Historical Foundation, Girl Scouts, Texas State Technical College, Rotary International, The National WASP Organization, and the Daughters of the American Revolution as well as many more local clubs and organizations.

In 2008, at the last official convention of the National WASP WWII, the WASP awarded Mancy the “Spirit of Jacqueline Cochran” Award, “for volunteer service ‘exemplifying the courage, persistence, and indomitable, pioneering spirit of Miss Jacqueline Cochran, founding Director of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, WWII.” 

In March 2010, she received the Texas State Community Service Award from the Texas Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  In July 2010, she was inducted into the 99’s “International Forest of Friendship”, for “inspiring generations with WASP history.”



Nancy and Deanie Parrish

Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony, March 10, 2010