The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Nov 19, 2012

Arts advocate and former Miss America Neva Fickling passes at 79

Posted by jdye

Neva Langley (Fickling) with her Miss America crown and sceptre in 1953.

Neva Langley Fickling, a Macon-resident and 1953 Miss America passed away on Sunday, Nov. 18 after a long battle with cancer. Those who knew her were keenly aware of her tireless contributions to the arts in Macon.

According to a statement by Mercer University, "The only Miss Georgia to be crowned Miss America, Fickling gave graciously of her time to a number of enterprises." She served on numerous boards and was a founder of Georgia Women of Achievement, which recognizes women for their outstanding accomplishments. She initiated the formation of the Macon Arts Council, which is now the Macon Arts Alliance, and helped establish Georgia Citizens for the Arts, a statewide arts advocacy organization.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Fickling family," said Jan Beeland, executive director of Macon Arts Alliance. "She was a gracious leader in this community and a tireless supporter of the arts. She has left a legacy that will be felt for years to come."

Neva Langley Fickling Hall at the McCorkle Music Building at Mercer University was dedicated in 2003 and is named for Fickling. The venue is a beautiful and intimate 200-seat performance space. According to Mercer's website, the hall is considered one of the best performance centers in the Southeast. The space offers state-of-the-art acoustics and is designed to accommodate the highest caliber of performances. The site lists its most outstanding features as a Richards, Fowkes & Co. pipe organ and professional recording and multimedia equipment.

“Neva Fickling was the embodiment of grace, talent and leadership,” Mercer President Willaiam D. Underwood said. “She was loved by her family, her community and all who supported the arts. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Fickling family during this time of loss.”

Services will be held Tuesday afternoon at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church in Macon, Ga.

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