Baby Name Story: Kimberly Sunshine

In September of 1983, Margaret Kruger of Stuart, Florida, went into labor three months early. She was put into an air ambulance helicopter heading to Tampa…but the baby wasn’t going to wait that long. So pilot Ron Ray made an emergency landing in a cow pasture near Okeechobee, and a baby girl was born soon after the landing.

Kruger said:

“Everyone was rushing around, getting the incubator out of the helicopter it wouldn’t open inside and trying to get the baby to breathe […] Cow manure was everywhere caked on the incubator and helicopter skids.”

The baby weighed less than two pounds and spent the next three months in the hospital. Despite being given a 20% chance of survival, she lived.

Her name? Kimberly Sunshine — Kimberly because it means “field” or “clearing” (in part*) and Sunshine because it recalls “the sunshine that surrounded her the day she was born.”

*The “ly” part of Kimberly comes from a word meaning “field,” but the “kimber” part is based on any of several Old English names (e.g., Cyneburga, Cynebald).

[Here’s another baby name story that involves both a helicopter and a pilot named Ron, ironically. And here’s one with a cow.]

Sources:

  • Plarski, Pat. “Baby Born in Copter Beating All the Odds.” Palm Beach Post 25 Mar. 1984.
  • Swartz, Sally. “Pilot Visits Girl who was Born in his Helicopter.” Palm Beach Post 28 Jun. 1992.

Baby Isla, Named after Coney Island

Isla Tudor, 1915In the late 1800s and early 1900s, English showman and “Animal King” Frank C. Bostock brought his performing menagerie of lions, jaguars, elephants, camels, and other animals to various cities in Great Britain and America.

Given that Bostock was famous for hosting weddings (for humans) inside the lion cage, the following story isn’t too surprising:

On August 23, 1903, Bostock’s English-born, Brooklyn-based business manager, Harry E. Tudor, had a baby girl. At three weeks old, the newborn was taken to an afternoon Bostock show on Coney Island, at the Sea Beach Palace.

Bostock’s lion tamer, Captain Jack Bonavita, took the newborn inside the lion cage, which contained 27 lions at the time. “[H]e commanded them to stand on their hind legs, which they did, supporting themselves against the bars of the cage.”

He then conducted some sort of naming ceremony in front of several thousand spectators, choosing the name Isla for the baby because, he said, it paid tribute to Coney Island. The baby was then passed out of the cage “and the regular exhibition took place.”

According to New York City birth records, the baby’s name was officially Isabel, same as her mother. Regardless, she was always called Isla by the newspapers.

And why was she in the newspapers? Because she led a fascinating (if short) life.

During her childhood, Isla crossed the Atlantic dozens of times “and visited Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.” She spent her eighth birthday sailing to Europe aboard the RMS Olympic, and her 12th picnicking with a lion named Baltimore at Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

When her father took up flying, she took it up as well. She participated in aviation exhibitions in both England and America, eventually piloting a plane herself. Aerial Age Weekly said Isla was “known on two continents as the youngest girl aviator.”

isla tudor, air lady
Isla Tudor, “Little Air Lady” (1914)

Sadly, Isla Tudor died of appendicitis in 1916, one month after her 13th birthday. News of her death was reported in the New York Times, Billboard magazine, and many other publications. (In the New York City death records she’s listed as Isla, not Isabel; her name may have been legally changed at some point.)

Sources:

Metalhead Baby Name: Iron Maiden

iron maiden, logo, rock

A baby boy born in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, in early February was named “Iron Maiden” after the British heavy metal band:

iron maiden, baby name

His father was particularly inspired by Iron Maiden’s gruesome, zombie-like mascot Eddie the Head.

Which prompts me to ask the obvious question: Why not just name the baby “Eddie”?

On the other hand, I kinda wish both parents had a “Duran” to contribute to the surname, because then you’d have Iron Maiden Duran Duran.

Some related names and almost-names: Danzig, Metallica, Vedder, Cobain, Reznor, Motor Head.

Sources: Padres llaman a su hijo Iron Maiden, Bolivian Couple Explain Decision To Name Son Iron Maiden

Baby Born During Superbowl, Named Brady

On Superbowl Sunday, Colleen Gaffney of Plymouth, Massachusetts, went into labor.

During the third quarter, when the Patriots were down 25 points against the Falcons, Colleen’s husband Sean demanded that the baby be born so that the Pats could start making their comeback already.

And you know what? That’s exactly what happened. The baby arrived a few minutes later, just as the Pats began to rally. They ultimately won the game 34-28 in overtime.

So what did the Gaffneys decide to name their baby boy? Brady, after longtime Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Brady has three older siblings: Quinn (named for Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn), Reese, and Knox. The family dog is named Rudy after Notre Dame football player Daniel Eugene “Rudy” Ruettiger.

(As you might imagine, much of the recent usage of the baby name Brady has been centered in New England specifically.)

Source: Child named Brady born in Falmouth during Super Bowl

Baby Named Kelowna After Canadian Town

Kelowna, 1920
Early Kelowna
So far we’ve talked about two babies named for newly formed towns — Salida and Nira — and today we have one more: Kelowna.

The Canadian town of Kelowna in British Columbia, Canada, was settled in the mid-1800s and incorporated in 1905. The name of the town means “grizzly bear” in the Okanagan language.

For several decades during the early 1900s, the residents of Kelowna’s Chinatown made up as much as 15% of the total population. But the birth rate in Chinatown was quite low, as most of the residents were men whose families remained in China due to Canada’s discriminatory Chinese head tax.

Chinatown’s first baby didn’t arrive until early 1906. Her name? Kelowna, after her Canadian birthplace.

Sources: Okanagan history not sexy, but it is ours, UBC O 2013 GREEN EDUC 417 “Kelowna’s Chinatown” (video)

P.S. Here’s a related post from the archive: Pay Tribute to a Place Without Using a Place Name.