Evelyn Ay Sempier

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Evelyn Ay Sempier
Born Evelyn Margaret Ay
(1933-03-08)March 8, 1933
Ephrata, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died October 18, 2008(2008-10-18) (aged 75)
Occupation Marketing, motivational speaking
Title Miss America 1954
Predecessor Neva Jane Langley
Successor Lee Meriwether
Carl G. Sempier
(m. 1954; d. 2007)
Children 2

Evelyn Margaret Sempier (née Ay; March 8, 1933 – October 18, 2008) was winner of the 1954 Miss America beauty pageant.

Early life[edit]

Ay was born the daughter of German immigrants in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.[1]


She had a short but successful career in smaller beauty contests. As Miss Ephrata Fair and Tobacco Queen of Lancaster County in 1950, she wore a crown that looked like tobacco leaves. After graduating from Ephrata High School in 1951, she won the titles of Miss Pennsylvania AMVET and the Miss National AMVET in 1952, as well as the Miss Pennsylvania title in 1953. She was selected Miss America at the last year before the pageant was televised.[2]

In a 1993 interview, "Evvy" said she was surprised at her victories. "That was the ultimate role model, like being Doris Day in real life." She embarked on her career as a favor to a friend who was trying to promote a pageant for the Junior Chamber International (JayCees). She traveled 270,000 miles (434,523 km) during her yearlong reign, and remained active with the pageant for many years, judging many local pageants and the national Miss America contest in 1981.[3]


Sempier officially introduced the Nash Metropolitan at the 1954 Chicago Auto Show.[4] She was a spokesperson for Nash Motors in promoting the first American car that was marketed specifically to women.[5] She described her marketing for Nash as the finest among her 40-years of commercial relationships, and the company was "most generous in sponsoring Miss America in many parts of America."[6]

Between the 1960s and 1990s, she made frequent appearances as a motivational speaker to women's and business groups.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Shortly after passing on the Miss America crown, she married Carl G. Sempier, a Navy veteran and corporate executive on November 13, 1954, and had two children.[7][8] Carl Sempier died in 2007. Sempier died on October 18, 2008 of colorectal cancer.[where?]

Evelyn Ay Sempier Quality of Life Award[edit]

The Evelyn Ay Sempier Quality of Life Award was established to honor the 1954 pageant winner. The award was introduced in 1988, and is given to select Miss America contestants involved with the Children's Miracle Network, as well as to "recognize contestants who excel in their commitment to community service".[9]


  1. ^ Miss America Online Magazine - Winter 2004 Archived 2008-05-01 at the Wayback Machine.; retrieved September 26, 2008.
  2. ^ "Evelyn Ay Sempier, at 75, crowned Miss America in 1954", Boston Herald, 2008-10-26; retrieved 2009-12-19.
  3. ^ Evelyn Ay Sempier, Miss America, dies Archived 2008-10-24 at the Wayback Machine., October 23, 2008; retrieved October 23, 2008
  4. ^ "RIP: Evelyn Ay Sempier (1933-2008)", Torqo.com; retrieved 2009-12-19.
  5. ^ Fitzgerald, Craig."1961 Nash Metropolitan Convertible", Hemmings Classic Car, 2005-10-01; retrieved 2009-12-19.
  6. ^ Foster, Patrick R. (2002). The Metropolitan Story. Olde Milford Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-9662019-1-8.
  7. ^ Tauber, Michelle; Neill, Mike; Russell, Lisa; Fowler, Joanne; Dam, Julie; Tresniowski, Alex; Miller, Samantha; Dougherty, Steve; Yu, Ting (October 16, 2000). "American Beauties: 80 Years". People.
  8. ^ [1] The Newport Daily News, October 20, 1954; retrieved September 26, 2008
  9. ^ "2009 Evelyn Ay Sempier Quality of Life Award winners announced"[permanent dead link], fourpointsmagazine.com, 2009-01-22; retrieved 2009-12-19.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Neva Jane Langley
Miss America
Succeeded by
Lee Meriwether
Preceded by
Miriam Smith
Miss Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Barbara Nager