DODGE, DARLENE RAE, South Florida aviation pioneer, Darlene Rae Dodge passed away in Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 21, 2007 after a courageous struggle with ovarian cancer. She was born in Los Angeles, California on April 30, 1938 to Ray and Ada Dodge and moved to Miami in 1949. Her mother, a Miami native, stared in a number of Hollywood films in the 1930's and was also the winner of the first Miss Coral Gables and Miss Florida beauty pageants in 1927. Her father was an international track star running in the 1924 Paris Olympics in the half mile. He was also the founder of the Dodge Trophy Company, the original makers of the Oscar and Emmy statuettes. The company also produced the first Orange Bowl trophy.
Darlene attended Ms. Harris' School in Miami, Institute Marie-José at Gstaad, Switzerland, Mount Vernon Seminary and graduated from the University of Miami. She made her debut at the Surf Club in 1957. She was an accomplished professional pilot and flew many types of aircraft including Lear Jets, DC-3's, with a particular passion for sailplanes. Darlene was the first female owner/operator of charter service in South Florida, operating Dodge Air Charter which ran a small fleet out of Miami International Airport during the 1980's. She was a founding member of Twenty Little Working Girls, and a member of Coral Reef Yacht Club, Ocean Reef Club, Cat Key, and Key Largo Anglers Club. Darlene was active and adventuresome. She played competitive tennis, loved fishing, hiking, skiing, scuba diving and flying. She specially enjoyed teaching her young
grandsons to fish on their many visits to her Key Largo home.
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