June Bacon-Bercey, who has been called the first American woman to become a TV meteorologist, died last summer, her family announced recently. She was 90.
Her daughter Dail St. Claire said that Bacon-Bercey died on July 3, 2019, of frontotemporal dementia, though her death had not been publicized until the news company AccuWeather reported on it last week.
“My mother paved a new road for women and minorities, and she paved that road with tenacity, integrity, diligence and community service,” St. Claire told CNN. “For me and all other women, African Americans and other minorities, her legacy is one of hope. Her legacy services as inspiration for all and is a powerful example of our limitless capability and strength.”
Bacon-Bercey, who was born June Esther Griffin in Wichita, Kansas, on Oct. 23, 1928, had a long resume.
She did a stint at the National Meteorological Center. She worked as an engineer for the Sperry Rand Corporation. She studied the effects of nuclear fallout on the atmosphere for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. She worked for the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
But Bacon-Bercey was perhaps best known for her time in the 1970s as a television meteorologist for WGR-TV (now WGRZ), an NBC-affiliated news station in Buffalo, New York.
Bacon-Bercey was hired at the station as a reporter, after unsuccessfully applying for chief meteorologist positions around the country, St. Claire said. But when WGR-TV’s meteorologist at the time was arrested for allegedly robbing a bank, she rose to the occasion.
In 1972, the American Meteorological Society awarded Bacon-Bercey with its “seal of approval” for excellence in television weather forecasting.
The CNN Wire contributed to this report