Marie Lepore : Early Massachusetts Aviator

This exhibit features personal memorabilia and scrapbook images collected by Marie Lepore during her lifetime in aviation. Some images reflect the aged nature of the delicate scrapbooks and newspapers. They are part of the Marie Lepore Collection of the Massachusetts Aviation Historical Society, now partnered with the Massachusetts Air and Space Museum.

Marie Camille (Graziadei) Lepore (1911?-2008)

It was after college graduation in the 1930s when Marie travelled to Paris and London that she determined to learn to fly. Back at Grafton Massachusetts Airport's grass field she took lessons in a small Piper Cub and obtained her pilot's license in 1942. She was one of the first female pilots from Worcester to have served with the Civil Air Patrol in the 1940's and was a commanding officer of its Worcester Squadron. By 1957 she was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and assigned to the Massachusetts Wing Headquarters at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford as deputy for education and training.

She took part in scores of Civil Air Patrol observer missions and gave countless air patrol cadets their first plane ride. In 1942 she flew as a (flour) bomber pilot in a Civil Defense mock air raid on Worcester. She organized a cadet squadron in 1943 which grew to over two hundred cadets. Her cadet drill teams won eleven state competitions within a nine year period. She was appointed commanding officer at Lackland Air Force Base National Special Encampment for CAP honor cadets. She was the first female officer appointed Deputy of Aerospace Education for the Massachusetts Wing. She was the recipient of Achievement and Meritorious Service Awards from the U.S. Air Force Association and the Civil Air Patrol. She retired from the CAP as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Mrs. Lepore gained cross-country flying hours as a member of the International Organization of Woman Pilots - the Ninety-Nines, founded by Amelia Earhart. She joined the 99's in 1945 and was a charter member of the Eastern New England Chapter in 1962. The organization named her Woman Pilot of the Year in 1960 and 1975. She flew many cross country air races, including the All Women New England Air Race and the 2800 mile All Woman Transcontinental Air Race (the "Powder Puff Derby").

In 1974 Marie was the first woman named for the Worcester Airport Commission and was appointed to the FAA New England Women's Aviation Advisory Committee in 1984.

Mrs Lepore worked to the City of Worcester's Board of Public Welfare and later as the head of the Worcester Bureau of Old Age Assistance, retiring in 1975. She was honored by the Massachusetts Aviation Historical Society and was an early "Pathfinder" supporter of the Massachusetts Air and Space Museum.

She logged over 2000 hours of flying in her lifetime.

Click Here to Start the Exhibit.

Marie Lepore
ScrapbookMarie Lepore Solo 1942
ScrapbookGeorge Curtis, Marie Lepore, Ethel Haywood 1942