It was a running joke in the family that Patricia Lou Wright Anderson wasn't good with cars.
She was always driving around in clunkers and neglecting to put air in the tires.
Once, she drove 15 miles with the emergency brake on. When the smell of burning rubber grew too strong, she had to stop on the roadside and wait for assistance.
It was an ironic characteristic for someone who served as a truck mechanic in the Marine Corps Women's Reserve during World War II.
While the men went off to fight in the Pacific theater, Anderson kept their trucks running, navigating them over the mountainous roads of Oahu, Hawaii at Camp Catlin.
"Other women her age were learning how to type or take shorthand, and she put on her uniform and went to war," said Karen Anderson, Patricia Wright's daughter "She wanted adventures, and boy, she had them."
She had enlisted in 1944 when she was 20-years-old. A patriot to her core, she was looking to make her mark on the world.
The adventures started when Anderson left her home of Springfield, Ohio, for Marine training at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. She then boarded the hospital ship USS Rescue and sailed the Pacific, disembarking at Camp Catlin.
Women were not an unusual sight at the base and performed myriad tasks from rigging parachutes to operating radios to disposing of garbage.
While the male Marines at the base eventually grew accustomed to working with the Women Reservists, they "never quite got used to the grease-covered female mechanics working under the hood or chassis of 2 1/2-ton trucks," wrote Mary V. Stremlow in her 1994 commemorative series, "Free a Marine to Fight: Women Marines in World War II."
Anderson, a no-nonsense brunette with curls, was one such mechanic.
She once put in a special order with her commanding officer to be able to wear dungarees, or trousers, to work in instead of the skirt and dress uniforms.
"Mom always took a different path," her daughter Pat Chester said.
After her military service ended in 1946, Anderson returned to Ohio. Still in search of adventure, she took flying lessons and earned her single-engine pilot's license.
Later, she became a stewardess for the fledgling American Airlines, staffing the inaugural flight into the brand new Cincinnati airport. When she fell in love with an American Airlines pilot named Albert John Anderson, she had to quit her job since married stewardesses were not allowed. The two married in 1949 and went on to have four children and six grandchildren.
She eventually settled on Hilton Head Island, sold real estate in Sea Pines and led her grandchildren on boating and shrimping adventures.
Anderson's son, A.J., was the child who most inherited her sense of adventure, his sisters said. A ship captain, he circumnavigated the globe by boat, and later started his own yacht company in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
He named it WrightMaritme, after his mother's maiden name.
Chester, while not quite so audacious, took up solo travel after her own children were grown and out of the house.
She's explored Paris and Bermuda. "I think about mom when I do these things," she said.
Patricia Anderson died from cervical cancer on April 22, 2001.
On her gravestone, beneath her dates of birth and death, is the quote, "I did it my way."
It's an homage to her love of Frank Sinatra but also an apt summation of her life, Karen Anderson said.
"If any words ever fit my mother, they would be, 'I did it my way.'"