Bexley News

Fourth of July festivities

Aviatrix named as honorary marshal for city's parade

City also plans family activities and fireworks as part of its celebration

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Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly around the world solo and a former Bexley resident, will serve as the honorary grand marshal for this year's Fourth of July parade in Bexley.

The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of Maryland Avenue and Remington Road and conclude at Fair Avenue and Cassingham Road.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Mock's flight. She was a 38-year-old wife and mother of three when she took off on March 19, 1964, piloting her single-engine Cessna 180, known as the "Spirit of Columbus," around the world.

Speaking by phone from her current home in Quincy, Fla., Mock said she became interested in aviation after taking a ride in an airplane at age 6.

"A little later, Amelia Earhart was doing things and I thought, 'I want to do what she's doing. I want to see the oceans and the deserts,' " Mock said. "She was my hero."

A Newark native, Mock, 88, studied aeronautical engineering at Ohio State University. She left her studies to marry Russell Mock in 1945.

Mock said it took a year to plan her flight around the world. She covered more than 23,000 miles in 29 days and 11 hours, making stops in the Azores, Casablanca, Cairo and Calcutta. Previous attempts by women to fly solo around the world, including Earhart's bid in 1937, were unsuccessful.

Mock said careful planning, with the help of U.S. Air Force Brigadier Gen. Dick Lassiter, gave her confidence that she could complete the journey.

"I wanted to see the world. I was sure I was going to be successful," she said. "I wasn't sure I was going to get everywhere I wanted to go, but I was sure I was going to get home safely."

When Mock landed at Port Columbus on April 17, 1964, a crowd that included Gov. James A. Rhodes greeted her. President Lyndon B. Johnson sent congratulations from the White House.

Mock's advice for young people is, "If you have a dream, follow it through. Make sure you have proper planning, and have fun."

One of Mock's biggest admirers is her sister Susan Reid, a Newark resident who will stand in for Mock during the parade since Mock will be unable to make the trip from Florida to participate.

"I flew with her several times and it was always amazing," Reid said. "She was always different. She said, 'I'm going to be a pilot and fly all over the world and see all these countries.' "

In addition to the parade, Bexley's Fourth of July celebration will include the John Barr 5K Run, which will start and end at Jeffrey Mansion, 165 N. Parkview Ave., beginning at 8 a.m.

Registration is $25 through noon July 3 and $30 on the day of the race. To register, visit Premierraces.com.

Later that day, a Community Celebration with family events, music and food will be held from 6 to 9:50 p.m. on the Capital University main lawn at the corner of East Main Street and College Avenue.

Fireworks will begin at 10 p.m.

To volunteer or find more information, visit Bexleycelebrations.org.

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