Meriem Lucille Roby was born July 12, 1921, in Eureka, Kansas to E.C. and Leota (Shambaugh) Roby. Her parents were prosperous ranchers and were able to spend the fall and winter months in Miami Beach, Florida. Meriem would return each spring and summer to their Flint Hills Ranch in Greenwood County Kansas. Meriem and her two sisters Margaret Jean and Martha Virginia attended elementary and high school at Mrs. Harris’s School for Girls in Miami Beach, Florida.
Meriem was feisty, independent, and had varied interests. Her passions were flying, motorcycles, animals (especially horses), and music such as big band, reggae, and steel drum music.
She began flying in April 1942, in Wichita, Kansas, and would commute from their ranch in Greenwood County to Wichita on her Indian motorcycle. She joined the CAP (Civil Air Patrol) as a lieutenant, transportation officer, and pilot. Later Meriem joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) on October 4, 1943. She was one of five women from Wichita’s CAP who received their WASP wings. One of the WASP customs was to give trainees a nickname. When Meriem joined the WASP, she became known as Roby.
Meriem received her wings on Tuesday, May 28, 1944, and reported to Enid Army Air Field, Enid, Oklahoma as a test pilot. She was one of ten WASP at the airfield. Before the WASP program disbanded in December 1944, Roby flew approximately 750 hours in PQ14Bs, B-25s, PT-17s, PT-19s AT-6s, and C-60s. In her own words, Roby, “had a few exciting experiences including a crash.”
On December 31, 1945, Meriem was united in marriage to Alexander “Harry” Anderson Jr. in Kansas City and had one son, Roby Charles “Chucky” Anderson. They made their home in rural Eureka on her family’s ranch, calling it the “Dead End Ranch.” Meriem bred and showed Appaloosa horses in the late ’50s and ’60s, flew charter flights in Eureka during the ’70s, and flew the Hughes Airwest Race Classic for female pilots in 1979. In the 90’s She and Harry started a small herd of buffalo at the ranch. She raised appaloosa horses, buffalo, chickens, guineas, and peacocks, and had 17 cats and 34 dogs.
She was a life member of the Women Military Aviators Association, the Ninety-nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots, and the Women Airforce Service Pilots. Throughout her life, Meriem Roby Anderson maintained strong ties with other WASP. She had a great camaraderie with them, and they meant the world to her. She attended reunions and returned each Memorial Day weekend to Avenger Field Sweetwater, Texas for WASP Homecoming.
Written by: Ann Haub | Collections Director
Photos courtesy: National WASP WWII Museum Archives
Partner with the WASP Archive in achieving its mission to collect, protect, preserve and provide access to materials that chronicle the WASP story, its legacy, and the personal and professional lives of its pilots. New artifacts are always welcome. Please call Ann Haub at 325-235-0099 or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.