Monday, August 11, 2008

Mary Meader, at 91; was pioneer as globe-circling aerial photographer - The Boston Globe

re: "NEW YORK - Mary Meader, who as a spunky new bride in the 1930s took off on a 35,000-mile journey to advance geographic knowledge by making unprecedented aerial photographs of South America and Africa, died March 16 in Kalamazoo, Mich. She was 91. /The saga began when Mrs. Meader, whose name was Mary Upjohn at the time, and her first husband, Dr. Richard Light, made plans to marry. They wanted to celebrate their union by approximating the highly publicized round-the-world flight he had made in 1934. She took flying lessons and learned Morse code to be her husband's copilot, navigator, and radio operator.../ ...[snip]... / Rachel Mary Upjohn was born in Kalamazoo. She was one of 11 grandchildren of Dr. W.E. Upjohn, founder of the Upjohn Co, the pharmaceutical concern. She was a language major at Smith College, specializing in French and Spanish, but dropped out to marry Richard Upjohn Light, a neurosurgeon and former military pilot who was her first cousin. They eloped to Maryland because first cousins could legally marry there. /The Lights took off first in September 1937 from Kalamazoo in a Bellanca monoplane, its cabin lacking heat and pressurization. They sucked oxygen from a tank through wooden mouthpieces. She wore a fur coat and boots as she shot pictures through an open window. Since she weighed only 95 pounds, she braced the 20-pound camera on the window frame and secured it with a clothesline. She said she once nearly froze to death. /The couple divorced in the early 1960s. In 1965, the former Mrs. Light married Edwin Meader, a professor of geography, among various callings. The couple became major philanthropists, giving millions to Western Michigan University, the University of Michigan and Kalamazoo charities..."...

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