Teresa Stokes, one of 5 sisters, grew up riding with dad in (and getting to “fly”) taildraggers and seaplanes, etc. while playing at small airports through elementary school in Maryland. Winning numerous art contests during school years— the first at age 4—she began painting professionally upon entering high school. Attending Art colleges in Baltimore and Atlanta, she did professional artwork for many well-known rock groups such as Aerosmith, but quickly shifted into her first love with her artwork: Aviation Art.
Teresa moved around the U.S. and then to London for 2 years, and was the youngest elected Associate Member of The Guild of Aviation Artists. Upon returning to the U.S. she literally built a house on an airstrip, bought a 1951 Bonanza and achieved her pilot’s license in 1984. Immediately afterwards, she began learning to fly aerobatics in several planes. In 1986 she bought a houseboat for her home and art studio, and lived aboard it near the Johnson Space Center for the next 18 years. Two of her works were actually flown in space aboard two different Space Shuttle missions!
Teresa met Gene Soucy at the Reno Air Races in 1988 and once back in Texas tried wingwalking on his “Showcat” “just for fun”. When his wingwalker-to-be unexpectedly left the U.S., Teresa said she would “fill in” until Gene found a “real wingwalker”. She is still “filling in” for the 32nd year now!
Over the next few years Teresa added to her flying credentials with instrument, multi-engine, and commercial ratings, and co-ownership of a 1945 J3 Cub. She also ferried the “Showcat” between airshows. In 1997 she was co-honored with Gene Soucy for the Bill Barber Showmanship Award for their wingwalking show. They have appeared on many national magazines, newspaper covers and TV shows such as “What’s My Line” and “To Tell The Truth” and even a Hollywood movie (“Iron Eagle III”).
In 1995 former ICAS President Rick Grissom asked Teresa to draw the Airshow Hall of Fame inductees’ portraits to be made into bronze plaques. She’s been averaging 3 portraits per year ever since—this year, one, a self-portrait!
She and Gene have flown airshows extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada along with a few other countries (except for a brief recovery in early 2003 when Teresa gave Gene one of her kidneys when both of his were failing. Both fully recovered very quickly and have been performing full time ever since.). Teresa plays guitar, sings; is also an Inventor; and maintains, and drives her classic cars of the 40’s, 50’s, & 60’s.
Airshow performing enhances her aviation art career, and provides fun travel, whether driving her RV, flying the Showcat or the team’s Twin Comanche, or riding in the open front cockpit photographing beautiful aerial scenery. Now performing only smaller shows, she loves touring airshow towns, meeting new people, and getting to visit her beloved airshow “family” —not to mention the thrill of wingwalking!