Jerry Mock's Cessna 180, "Spirit of Columbus", hanging in the Smithsonian Institute.
HOW TO HELP
Donations to the Jerrie Mock Aviation Pioneer Sculpture Fund may be made to the Licking County Foundation, P.O. Box 4212, Newark, OH 43058.
For more information or to schedule a presentation about Jerrie Mock, call Susan Reid at (740) 344-8425.
From Newark Advocate: href="http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20110828/NEWS01/108280308">Ohio town raises funds to honor pioneering female pilot
NEWARK -- On April 17, 1964, Bill and Mary Kelley piled their five children into the car and drove to Port Columbus International Airport to see history being made.
The Heath family watched as Newark native Jerrie Mock successfully landed her Cessna 180 -- named The Spirit of Columbus -- making her the first woman to complete a solo flight around the world.
Bill Kelley said he never will forget the excitement he felt that day as he watched a Newark native achieve a major aviation milestone.
"We thought it was something to be really proud of," he said.
Now, Kelley is working to make sure Newark residents remember Mock and her accomplishments
Kelley, 83, has partnered with Susan Reid, Mock's younger sister, to raise money to build a bronze statue to honor Mock. They need to raise $45,000 for the statue, which they hope to have placed in the LeFevre Courtyard at The Works.
"I feel like it's past time," Kelley said. "I want to get this done while I'm still here and she's still here."
A lifelong dream
Mock's dream of flying around the world started when she took her first airplane flight at age 7.
"I remember looking at the houses and cars (from above)," Mock said. "I told my parents, 'I'm going to fly an airplane.'"
A lover of geography, Mock wanted to see faraway places.
"I told my girlfriends that I was going to fly around the world. They wanted to go to Hollywood and be movie stars. They thought I was crazy," she said.
Mock enrolled in the Aeronautical Engineering Program at Ohio State University and earned her private pilot certificate in 1958, Reid said. Mock went on to manage several airports and open a flying services company while raising three children.
In 1962, Mock was living in Bexley and looking for a new challenge when her husband suggested she try to fly around the world. After two years of planning, Mock left Columbus on March 19, 1964, to begin her flight.
Wearing a blue suit, heels and pearls, Mock circled the globe in 30 days, stopping to meet with foreign officials and explore different cultures along the way.
She struggled with engine and radio problems and ice formed on the wings of her plane, but she never gave up, Reid said.
"We knew Jerrie was very careful. We had a lot of faith in her," Reid said. "(Our family) never considered the fact she wouldn't be successful."
After completing her flight, Mock was recognized in magazines and newspaper articles across the country. She was invited to the White House, where she received the FAA Gold Medal for Exceptional Service from President Lyndon Johnson.
She continued flying and set several other records for distance and speed. As time went on, Mock's story faded away and many people forgot about her accomplishments. Even in Newark, many people don't know her story, Reid said.
"They remember Amelia Earhart because of the mystery, but Jerrie didn't disappear, except from the public eye," she said.
Ever since he saw her land in Columbus 47 years ago, Kelley hoped someone would build a statue dedicated to Mock.
Several weeks ago, he decided it was time for action.
"I kept waiting for someone else to take the initiative," he said. "But now we are living on borrowed time, and I'd like to see it done."
After partnering with Reid, Kelley contacted local sculptor Renate Burgyan-Fackler and asked her to create the statue.
Burgyan-Fackler's initial sketches and models show Mock holding a model of her Cessna or a newspaper that describes her accomplishments.
It will take about $45,000 to bring those sketches to life. Kelley and Reid will be meeting with community leaders and individuals to ask for donations.
Reid said she hopes the statue will be completed by this time next year.
"It's long overdue," she said. "This is definitely something the community needs."
'Dreams do come true'
Marcia Downes, managing director of The Works, said she is thrilled at the prospect of Mock's statue being displayed in the LeFevre Courtyard.
"People in this community don't know about Jerrie," Downes said. "I think her story needs to be told, and what a great way to do that by memorializing her."
Now a resident of Quincy, Fla., Mock said she was surprised when she heard about Kelley and Reid's plan for a statue.
"I wish them luck," she said.
A retired teacher and librarian in Heath City Schools, Reid has spent several years giving presentations about her sister's flight and accomplishments. She said she gladly will talk with any group who wants to know more about Mock or the statue project.
By learning about Mock's flight, Licking County residents, especially children, can learn an important lesson, Reid said.
"She always wanted to inspire people, especially women and children, that if you have a dream it may seem impossible, but if you work at it, dreams do come true," Reid said.
Who is Jerrie Mock:
Geraldine "Jerrie" Fredritz Mock (born November 22, 1925 in Newark, Ohio) was the first woman to fly solo around the world. The trip ended April 17, 1964 and took 29 days, 21 stopovers and almost 22,860 miles. She was subsequently awarded the Louis Blériot medal the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.
The United States Air Force named a street in honor of her at Rickenbacker AFB (presently Rickenbacker International Airport) in Lockbourne, Ohio (near Columbus).
Jerrie now resides in Quincy, Florida and a plaque bearing her accomplishments can be found in the Tallahassee Regional Airport's Aviation Wall of Fame.
She is a member of Phi Mu Fraternity and the mother of three children.
Early lifeGeraldine "Jerrie" Mock was born November 22, 1925 in a suburban neighborhood of Newark, OH. She was the oldest of 3 sisters, but during her childhood she found more in common with the boys. Her interest for flying was sparked when she was 12 years old when she and her father had the opportunity to fly in the cockpit of a Ford Trimotor airplane. In high school she took an engineering course of which she was the only girl and decided flying was her passion. She graduated from Newark High School (Ohio) in 1940 and went on to attend Ohio University majoring in engineering.
Accomplishments and RecognitionsOfficial World Aviation Records Set or Taken 1964-1969(Sanctioned and accepted by the National Aeronautic Association and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale)
Speed around the world, Class C1-c
Speed around the world, Feminine
Speed over a closed course of 500KM, Class C1-b
Distance in a straight line, Feminine
Distance in a closed course, Class C1-c
Distance in a closed course, Feminine
Speed over a recognized course
Speed over a recognized course
Significant “Firsts”First woman to fly solo around the world
First woman to fly U.S. – Africa via North Atlantic
First woman to fly the Pacific single-engine
First woman to fly the Pacific West to East
First woman to fly both the Atlantic and Pacific
First woman to fly the Pacific both directions
Awards in Recognition of Accomplishments in AviationMetals, Plaques, Trophies:
Federal Aviation Agency Gold Metal for Exceptional Service
Ohio Governor’s Award
Louis Bleriot Silver Metal(World-Wide award of Fédération Aéronautique Internationale)
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Special Award
Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce Award of the Year
Experimental Aircraft Association Special Award
Ohio Aviation Trades Association Sparky Award
Amelia Earhart Memorial Award, 1964
Aero Classic Aviation Progress Award, 1965
National Aviation Trades Association Pilot-of-the-Year Award, 1964
Glenn Hammond Curtiss Silver Metal, Pittsburgh OX-5 Club
Milestones in Manned Flight Trophy, Trans World Airlines
Wadsworth, Ohio, Aero Club Special Award
Kansas 99’s Special Recognition Medallion
Special Award of Bexley Civic Association
Women’s Aero Association of Wichita Award
Award of Appreciation, Licking County (Ohio) Historical Society
Columbus Transportation Club Special Award
Sports Woman of the Year, Columbus Citizen-Journal, 1969
Citation of Wichita, Kansas, Chamber of Commerce