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Jacquelyn Mayer

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Spouse(s)  John Townsend
Successor  Donna Axum
Name  Jacquelyn Mayer
Predecessor  Maria Fletcher
Role  Motivational speaker
Children  Bill Townsend

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Born  August 20, 1942 (age 73) (1942-08-20) Sandusky, Ohio
Occupation  Health Care ActivistMotivational SpeakerBeauty Pageant Director
Title  Miss Vacationland 1962Miss Ohio 1962Miss America 1963

Education  Northwestern University

Participants of a beauty contest walk on ramp and jacquelyn mayer receives title hd stock footage

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


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Professional career

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Mayer graduated Sandusky High School in 1960, spending much of her senior year in Austria as an exchange student., and then attended Northwestern University where a friend encouraged her to enter the Miss America contest for the scholarship money offered to the winner. 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, 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.

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In 1970, Mayer suffered a stroke in the early hours following a Thanksgiving evening with her family. 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. Thirty years later, having regained the ability to walk and speak, Mayer considers herself 90% recovered.

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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, made educational films to raise stroke awareness, helped found the National Stroke Association, 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.

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Mayer is also executive director of the Miss Vacationland pageant.

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

Awards and honors

  • 1962 Miss Vacationland winner
  • 1962 Miss Ohio winner
  • 1963 Miss America winner
  • Ohio Women's Hall of Fame inductee (class of 1997).
  • Honorary Doctorate Degree from Lourdes College.
  • Section of State Route 2 running through Erie County named "Jackie Mayer Miss America Highway".
  • Family

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


    Jacquelyn Mayer Wikipedia