COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTW) — Admirers of the first woman to fly solo around the world are raising money to install a bronze, life-sized statue of her in her central Ohio hometown.
Geraldine "Jerrie" Mock's historic flight ended in Columbus 48 years ago, and supporters plan to honor her with the statue at a history center in Newark.
Mock, 86, told The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/IKjeT6 ) she's surprised by the plan.
"I guess I don't think about women and statues," she said. "They're for generals or Lincoln."
Mock now lives in Quincy, Fla., but her sister Susan Reid remains in Newark and believes that people had largely forgotten about Mock's accomplishment and that the local honor is overdue.
"I never gave it a thought that she wouldn't be successful," Reid said. "We knew she was a great pilot, lots of guts. And this was a pretty gutsy thing to do."
Media in the 1960s had described Mock, who first flew at age 12, as a "petite Bexley housewife" as her adventure was tracked by people around the world who wanted to see if she could accomplish the feat Amelia Earhart attempted as she disappeared over the ocean.
Upper Arlington resident John Ross said he remembers following the end of Mock's journey in Columbus when he was a 9-year-old would-be journalist.
"I was there when her plane taxied in," Ross recalled. "It was a great event."
Mock said despite the Vietnam War, she thinks "the world was very safe" in that era compared with today, and she believes a modern-day solo flight would be more difficult.
Her single-engine Cessna — flown nearly 23,000 miles — hangs in Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., and her trip is commemorated with a plaque on the Tallahassee Regional Airport's Aviation Wall of Fame in Florida.
Reid said supporters have raised about half of the $45,000 needed for the Ohio statue project. She's hopeful Mock could visit Ohio for the unveiling but said Mock wouldn't fly into town on a commercial airline.
"She wants to know the pilot," Reid said