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Breaking barriers: Jerrie Mock

Portraits of Jerrie Mock and Kathryn Sullivan - The WASPs

Part II: Jerrie Mock

Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock was born in Newark, Ohio, in 1925. Growing up was hard in the mid-1920s due to the Great Depression. Jerrie had made up her mind that she didn’t want to be a housewife. The expectation was high, especially when women’s rights were not taken seriously and it was hard for women to find jobs. One day, her father took her on an airplane ride in a Ford Trimotor where the view was gorgeous with fields of grass and streams. She looked down and admired the sky’s point of view with inspiration and from that point on she knew with all her heart that she wanted to become a pilot.

By the 1940s, more women were going to college and getting jobs, and she got accepted into Ohio State University when she was about 20 years old. She enrolled in an aviation engineering class which was predominately a man’s class. In class, men would not take her seriously and she was looked down on for being the only female in her class until her hard work in studying paid off. She was  the only one to score a perfect score on her chemistry exam. Although she was good in school, she left to marry the love of her life, Russell Mock, and started a family having three children.

“I’m just a housewife. I get tired of washing dishes and ironing clothes,” she told the Washington Record-Herald in 1964. She kept busy and went on to produce a television series called Youth Has Its Say, which was a show about helping teenagers have awareness of the circumstances in the early 1940s. Soon after, she finally took flying lessons to perfect her skills and her husband joined her in becoming a licensed flyer. She prepared to fly around the world and at first, she didn’t take it seriously. Her dream became reality when she received the title of the first woman to fly solo around the world.

Jerrie Mock was an inspiration for many women in the early 1960s; she was a great leader and an example women could follow in order to achieve whatever they wanted in life.

Check out Part III to learn about Kathryn Sullivan.

About the author: Jackie is an intern with Columbus Regional Airport Authority through a work-study program at her high school, Cristo Rey. Jackie works alongside the Marketing & Communication team, and assists in writing monthly blog posts.

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