Jacquelyn Mayer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jacquelyn Mayer
Born (1942-08-20) August 20, 1942 (age 75)
Sandusky, Ohio
Education Northwestern University
Occupation Health Care Activist
Motivational Speaker
Beauty Pageant Director
Title Miss Vacationland 1962
Miss Ohio 1962
Miss America 1963
Predecessor Maria Fletcher
Successor Donna Axum
Spouse(s) John Townsend
Children 2

Jacquelyn Jeanne "Jackie" Mayer (born August 20, 1942 in Sandusky, Ohio) is a former Miss Ohio 1962 and Miss America 1963[1] and currently travels the United States as a motivational speaker, noted for her recovery from a near-fatal stroke suffered at age 28.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Mayer graduated Sandusky High School in 1960, spending much of her senior year in Austria as an exchange student.,[3] and then attended Northwestern University where a friend encouraged her to enter the Miss America contest for the scholarship money offered to the winner.[4] To qualify, she was first crowned Miss Vacationland (representing her native Sandusky and Lake Erie Islands region) in 1962 - becoming the first ever winner of the crown,[5] then going on to enter (and win) the Miss Ohio pageant the same year. Mayer would then enter the Miss America pageant, and on September 8, 1962, in front of an audience of 30,000 at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall and watched by millions more across America, she was crowned Miss America for 1963.[6]

In 1970, Mayer suffered a stroke[7] in the early hours following a Thanksgiving evening with her family.[8] She was rushed to the hospital and though surviving, spent the next seven years in rehabilitation needing to re-learn such simple tasks as the alphabet and basic motor functions.[9][10] Thirty years later, having regained the ability to walk and speak, Mayer considers herself 90% recovered.[11]

For over 20 years, Mayer has dedicated her life to assisting stroke survivors and their families. She speaks to dozens of schools, colleges and corporations each year. She has been a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association,[12] made educational films to raise stroke awareness, helped found the National Stroke Association,[13] and has appeared on Good Morning America and The Phil Donahue Show, and her story has been featured in magazines such as People and Family Circle.

Mayer is also executive director of the Miss Vacationland pageant.[5]

Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky, formerly known as Providence Hospital, features the Jackie Mayer Rehab & Skilled Nursing Center.[4]

Awards and honors[edit]


She has two children (now adults): Bill Townsend, a technology entrepreneur—cofounder of the Lycos search engine, and board member at Newegg.com and Amati Foundation,[15] and Kelly Rostic, a former anchorwoman with NBC and Fox.[4]


  1. ^ Associated Press (1962-09-07). "Miss America Crown Won by Ohio’s Jacquelyn Mayer". Gadsden Times. p. 1. 
  2. ^ "Stroke victim to discuss warning signs". Deseret News. 2001-02-18. 
  3. ^ "Miss America Owes Much To Her Music". Owosso Argus-Press. 1962-11-12. p. 8. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Former Miss America rebounds from stroke to help other people". Toledo Blade. 2000-04-23. p. 2.1. 
  5. ^ a b Miss Vacationland pageant - Sandusky Register.com
  6. ^ Mayer bio - Ohio History.org
  7. ^ United Press International (1971-11-11). "Beauty queen claims pill caused her to have stroke". Montreal Gazette. p. 29. 
  8. ^ United Press International (1970-12-01). "Full recovery seen for ’63 Miss America". The Bryant Times. p. 3. 
  9. ^ "It’s A Long Way From Atlantic City To Meadow Land". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1978-09-12. p. 2. 
  10. ^ Associated Press (1982-09-08). "Former Miss America speaks about her life". Wilwaukee Sentinel. p. 7. 
  11. ^ "Stroke Awareness". Reading Eagle. 1999-05-19. p. B4. 
  12. ^ "Remarkable Recovery". Times Daily. 1988-05-20. p. 2A. 
  13. ^ "Stroke survivor cited". Pittsburgh Press. 1992-02-22. p. W2. 
  14. ^ "Ohio 2 changes its name". Cleveland Plain Dealer. 2009-04-20. 
  15. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Maria Fletcher
Miss America
Succeeded by
Donna Axum
Preceded by
Bonnie Gawronski
Miss Ohio
Succeeded by
Darlene Depasquale