Print Print Email Email Share Share

Mary Rawlinson Creason

Mary Rawlinson Creason


Mary Rawlinson Creason was born on November 20, 1924, in Greenwood, Delaware. Mary began flying prior to her 1944 graduation from Western Michigan College, and during her long aviation career she played a major role in aviation safety and education programs for the state of Michigan.

After Mary's initial solo in 1943, she went on to earn private, commercial, and airline transport pilot licenses. Rated on both single-engine land and sea and multi-engine land airplanes, she began teaching in 1964 and by 1995 had accumulated over 10,500 flight hours, 5,500 of which as a flight instructor. She has held positions as an air taxi pilot, flight and ground instructor, airport manager, fixed base owner and operator, airplane salesperson, aviation writer and publisher, and has volunteered as an FAA Accident Prevention Counselor. She continues to teach, write, and promote aviation education and safety. Early on in her career, Mary faced the hardships of discrimination against women pilots, an experience she attributes to her drive to excel in her aviation skills.

Mary began working for the state of Michigan's Bureau of Aeronautics in 1977 as Editor of Michigan Aviation, while also serving as an air transport pilot, coordinator of safety, and development of educational programs. Later she became Administrator of the Safety and Services Division and then Assistant Deputy Director. After her retirement in 1989, Mary was appointed by Governor Blanchard to the Aeronautics Commission and served as its Chairman in 1991.

Accepting a presidential appointment, Mary served as a member of the Womens/Citizens Advisory Committee on Aviation to the FAA from 1969 to 1974. She participated in many national and state air races, placing in the top ten four times in national races, and top five four times in the Michigan SMALL Race. She has received many awards, trophies, and citations during her long and illustrious career.

A catalyst for the promotion and advancement of aviation, aviation safety, and aviation education, the effect of Mary's involvement has spread through the thousands of students and associates with whom she has been in contact.

Mary Rawlinson Creason was enshrined on October 14, 1995, for her dedication to Michigan aviation for over 50 years.

Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program