Monday, September 12, 2022

Jackie Mayer Crowned Miss America – Sept. 1962

It's hard to believe that it was sixty years ago this month that Jacquelyn (Jackie) Mayer of Sandusky was crowned Miss America 1963. 

Above is the front page of the Monday, September 10, 1962 edition of the Journal featuring the story of the beginning of her reign, after winning two days before on Saturday night.

It doesn't seem right that the story somewhat focuses on her weight, pointing out that the "auburn-haired beauty" was once a chubby little girl. The subhead on the story even refers to her as an ex-butterball!

In the article, Jackie notes, "I was always chubby until I was about 16 years old."

"Even today, she said, she must be careful of her diet.

"Jackie looked fresh and bright eyed as she met the press, although she'd had only four hours sleep.

"Crowned Miss America 1963 shortly before midnight Saturday by the 1962 queen, Maria Beale Fletcher of Asheville, N. C., Jackie didn't get back to her room until several hours later.

"After her year as Miss America, Jackie said she intends to complete her education at Northwestern. She hopes eventually to become an actress.

"Her title carries with it a $10,000 scholarship, and personal appearances during the year are expected to bring her about $75,000."

On September 11, 1962 the Journal continued its coverage of Jackie with the articles below. 

One story notes how two ex-Lorainites had a big hand in Jackie's quest for the Miss America crown. 

Miss Caryl Crane was the owner of a dress shop in Sandusky and a longtime friend of the Mayer family, knowing Jackie since she was a young girl. Miss Crane had encouraged Jackie to enter the Miss Vacationland contest (which became the first step towards becoming Miss America) and eventually became Jackie's wardrobe consultant, selecting her clothes for the pageant. Miss Crane also introduced Jackie to Gerald Freedman (a graduate of Lorain High School), a successful Broadway producer and director of many New York stage productions. Freedman became Jackie's special dramatic coach, working with her on the original sketch that was performed at the pageant. 

Elsewhere on the page in another article, Jackie revealed that she had never been in love and had no steady boyfriend. 

A third article noted that with Jackie's selection as Miss America, a new Miss Ohio was needed. Runner-up Miss Bonnie Ann Gawronski of Toledo, would take on the role, as well as all of the commitments that Jackie would be unable to fulfill.


Many of us are familiar with the inspirational story of Jackie's recovery from a near-fatal stroke at the age of 28, and her work to help other stroke victims.

Today, signs on State Route 2 in Erie County have long proclaimed the road as Jackie Mayer Miss America Highway, insuring that her story will never be forgotten.


I did a post in 2014 on Jackie Mayer (back here) about when her reign as Miss America 1963 was coming to an end.


-Alan D Hopewell said...

Ah, Jackie I remember, she gave Annette and a classmate named Connie competition as my crush visions when I was six.

Lisa said...

Interesting to read about her seven-year recovery process after that stroke. She's still a motivational speaker, particularly for healthcare organizations.