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.
“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.]
- 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.
In the ’60s, the Britton brothers of Ireland took up surfing after their mother brought home a couple of surfboards from California.
One of those brothers, Barry, went on to have two daughters. Both became surfers, and one became a very successful professional surfer.
The pro-surfing daughter is named Easkey (b. 1986). How did she get that name? She’s named “after a famous surf break off the west coast of Ireland.”
The wave got its name from a nearby village, which was in turned named after the Easkey River. The river’s name comes from the Irish word iascaigh, which is based on the word iasc, meaning “fish.”
Together with her sister Becky-Finn, she grew up balanced on a surf board, more often than not riding the very wave that she is named after.
Perhaps younger sister Becky-Finn was named with the ocean in mind as well…
P.S. Easkey Britton was the first female surfer to ride “Aileen’s Wave,” a famous break off the Cliffs of Moher. The name “Aileen’s” is derived from an Anglicization of Aill na Searrach, “cliff of foals,” the name of a nearby sea cliff.
Sources: Aileen’s – Ireland’s Perfect Wave, Easkey Britton – Irish Pro Surfer, Easkey: surf’s new role model, Irishwoman Easkey Britton makes surf waves in Iran
In the winter of 1986, after the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup, a baby boy in Haiti was named Mats Naslund Civil after Swedish player Mats Naslund.
The name was his godmother’s idea. “While Civil’s mother agreed to name her baby Mats Naslund, in private she called him Jean-Loup, a name she preferred and found easier to pronounce.”
Mats now lives in Montreal. He works and a bank, and the topic of his name frequently comes up. “Every day, at least two or three customers would ask me about it. They would say: ‘Is that your real name?’ Some of them thought it was a joke.”
Despite this, he likes his name. “It is a great conversation starter. It makes people smile. I have even been asked for my autograph.”
(The “Loup” in Jean-Loup is derived from lupus, Latin for “wolf.” Same with the “Lupe” in Guadalupe.)
Source: Wilton, Katherine. “Say hello to Mats Naslund.” Montreal Gazette 19 May 2010.
Let’s start the week with a third legal battle* involving a baby’s name. This one didn’t cause a divorce, but it was caused by a divorce.
In 1980, William and Tammi Wilcox of Illinois were expecting a baby. They’d already decided that, if the baby was a boy, he’d be named William Earl Wilcox IV.
But in August, when she was about seven months pregnant, Tammi filed for divorce. She also declared that she would name the baby whatever she wanted.
William then filed an emergency petition seeking to force Tammi to name the baby William Earl Wilcox IV if it was a boy.
In mid-October, the judge “continued the case to Nov. 19, giving himself a 50-50 chance that he [would] not have to make a ruling.”
No ruling needed — in late October, Tammi gave birth to a baby girl. She named the baby Kirsten.
*Here are the first and second battles.
- “Birth of Girl Ends Lawsuit Over a Name.” Milwaukee Journal 1 Nov. 1980: Green Sheet, 2.
- “The Judge May Have to Name This Baby.” St. Petersburg Independent 17 Oct. 1980: 11-A.
Swiss tennis player Martina Hingis, born in 1980, was the top female tennis player in the world for 209 weeks (in the ’90s and ’00s).
And who is she named after?
Czech tennis player Martina Navratilova, born in 1956, who was the top female tennis player in the world for 332 weeks (in the ’70s and ’80s).
I found this little factoid in a 1994 Sports Illustrated article critical of Martina Hingis turning pro too young (at age 14):
Hingis’s mother, Melanie, a 37-year-old former top Czech player, was also in favor of the move [to turn pro], having groomed her daughter for a pro career ever since she named the child after countrywoman Navratilova. “We’ve worked 10 years for this,” Melanie said. “It’s a natural development.”
Source: Proceed With Caution