In Loving Memory of Miss America 1953: 1933 – 2012
Beloved Miss America 1953 Neva Langley Fickling, passed away quietly on this past Sunday morning surrounded by her loved ones.
Neva will be fondly remembered for her grace, her humility and her impeccable Southern manners. When she won the title of Miss America, she was a graduate of Wesleyan College, studying piano. As she stepped on the stage to compete in the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall, Neva performed flawlessly in front of the audience and the famous New York Times music critic, Deems Taylor, who judged her and awarded Neva the talent competition, after she performed her rendition of TOCCATA by Khatchaturian.
Neva, was the only Miss Georgia to ever win the title of Miss America and she graciously accepted the title on September 6, 1952, although she was a native of Lakeland Florida, she never forgot her roots. She was a devoted wife to Bill Fickling, her college sweetheart whom she married following her year of service as Miss America. They have four wonderful children and many grandchildren that she loved and enjoyed.
Her honors were many and included recognition by the Georgia chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association as a Champion. Mercer University named its music hall the Neva Langley Fickling Hall. Wesleyan College, provided her with an honorary doctorate of fine arts in 1984.
We will fondly remember Neva as she recently returned to the Miss America family for the 90th Anniversary Celebration in 2010. Neva, along with nearly fifty of her Miss America sisters gathered for this historic event. Neva, with her grace and charm shined at this special reunion. Her legacy to the Miss America Organization is lasting.
The Miss America Organization extends its heartfelt sympathies to Neva’s family during this time of sorrow. We will keep her family in our thoughts and our prayers and our beloved Neva will keep the song alive in our hearts.
- Photo courtesy of the Miss America Organization
About the Miss America Pageant
The Miss America Organization is one of the nation’s leading achievement programs and the world’s largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. Last year, the Miss America Organization and its state and local organizations made available more than $45 million in cash and scholarship assistance. Website: www.missamerica.org