Canadian Aviatrix #99 – Mary Lou Morkin (1922-2008)

Mary Lou was born on 17 October 1922 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Judge James Ignatius Morkin (president of the Canadian Amateur Athletic Association) and Catherine M Campbell.

Mary Lou attended the University of Manitoba and was President of the Dramatic Society. She graduated with a diploma in 1942, then returned to get her degree in 1951.

On 30 October 1945, Mary Lou passed her flying test and received her PPL, making her the 99th female pilot in Canada and the first one to get a civilian licence after the wartime restrictions ended. She was 20 years old.

Canadian Aviatrix #99 – Mary Lou Morkin (1922-2008) 

Photo: 1941 Brown and Gold (University of Manitoba yearbook)

On 7 June 1952, Mary Lou married Harry Richard Simpson (advertising executive and former RCAF pilot). The couple had two children.

Mary Lou worked for the Child Protection Branch of the Children’s Aid, picking up abandoned children with the Winnipeg Police and placing them with foster homes. She had been an interior designer before marriage and continued used her talents to help friends and family, as well as designing her own home. In the 1970s, she became a realtor.

Mary Lou enjoyed bowling, jogging, yoga, and bridge. She was an avid cook and prepared gourmet meals every day.

Mary Lou died in 2008, aged 86.

Note: Mary Lou was listed with an asterisk in No Place for a Lady – meaning the author hadn’t been able to find her. However, there was actually a 1984 phone interview with Mary Lou listed in the appendix, so I think the asterisk was misplaced!

The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots