Moya Lear

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Moya Marie Olsen Lear (March 27, 1915 – December 5, 2001) was an American businesswoman and the wife of aviation pioneer Bill Lear. Her father was vaudeville performer Ole Olsen, whose Depression-era show Hellzapoppin' was one of the longest running Broadway musicals in history. Her mother was Lillian. Moya earned her bachelor's degree at Ohio State University and the Pace Institute in New York.

Moya was introduced to Bill Lear by her father in his dressing room in 1938 while she was writing "The Book" for the play. She told Victor Boesen that she

had dreamed of being a famous dancer, in the mold of Anna Pavlova and Nijinski, only to be told by her teacher that she would make a good jitterbug.[1]

Lear and she were married in 1942. In 1946 the couple moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan where Lear conducted his avionics manufacturing and development. In 1967 the Learjet company was sold and the old Stead Air Force Base near Reno was acquired. Moya became active in the Nevada Opera Association, the Nevada Festival Ballet and the Sierra Arts Foundation.

She received six honorary doctoral degrees. She devoted a substantial amount of time to philanthropy in the Reno, Nevada area. After the death of her husband, Lear attempted with investors to complete his innovative lightweight turboprop airplane, the LearAvia Lear Fan. The project ultimately failed to obtain FAA certification because of a gearing problem, and never went into production.

Moya and Bill Lear had four children: well-known pilot and UFOlogist John Lear, Shanda Lear, David and Tina.


  1. ^ Boesen 38

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