Jerrie Mock1925 - 2014
Geraldine "Jerrie" Fredritz Mock was born November 22, 1925, in Newark, Ohio. Her interest in flying was sparked at seven years of age when she took her first airplane ride. Jerrie graduated from Newark High School in 1943 and went on to attend The Ohio State University, majoring in aeronautical engineering. She left OSU in 1945 to marry Russell Mock.
On March 19, 1964, the then Bexley resident and mother of three climbed into her single-engine Cessna, “Spirit of Columbus,” and took off from Port Columbus International Airport on a mission to become the first woman to fly solo around the world. She landed safely back at Port Columbus on April 17, after 29 days and more than 23,000 miles.
On May 4, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded Ms. Mock the Federal Aviation Administration's Exceptional Service Decoration in a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House.
Ms. Mock went on to set numerous official world aviation records between 1964–1969. “Spirit of Columbus” was donated to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Today, it hangs in the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in suburban Virginia. For her contributions to flight, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale honored Ms. Mock with its Louis Bleriot Silver Medal, the organization's highest honor. She was the first woman, and also the first American citizen, to receive the medal.
On April 17, 2014, a life-size bronze statue of Ms. Mock, created by local artist Renate Burgyan Fackler, was unveiled during an event at Port Columbus commemorating the 50th anniversary of her historic feat.
On September 30, 2014, Jerrie Mock passed away at her home in Quincy, Florida. She was 88 years old. She will continue to be an inspiration to young and old in our community.