Charles Lee Fower and Marie Meyer Fower
Frederick Fower - a native of Switzerland - came to
Missouri and married Dora Shaeffer. They had four children: Louis, Anna, Charles,
and Debbie. Charles Lee was born in Macon on December 23, 1894.
A pioneer aviator, Charley acquired one of the first pilot's licenses
issued by the old Civil Aeronautics Administration, the first national authority for the
licensing and regulation of pilots and planes. He flew as a stunt pilot with the nationally
famous Marie Meyer Flying Circus based at the site of the present Lambert Airport in St.
Louis. Charles A. Lindbergh was a stunt pilot too, and he and Fower became
good friends. Marie would perform daring tricks on the plane's wings - or dangling below as shown here.
After the Flying Circus disbanded in 1928, Fower returned to Macon
and went into business with his brother, Louie. On May 24, 1934, he married Marie
Meyer and she helped him run the Fower Oil Company and Louie's Sweet Shop. They
purchased the Sandner farm just outside of Macon, and since there was no airport, they built a landing strip on the grounds so they could continue to pursue their mutual love of flying.
Charlie Fower flying the plane while Marie Meyer Fower performs the crowd-pleasing stunts that made the Marie Meyer Flying Circus famous
Charley served as the Republican City Chairman for many years and
was active in city politics. He served one term as mayor of Macon and served on the City
Council for several years. He also belonged to the Methodist Church.
Charley and Marie were both honored in December 1953 in St. Louis
by the St. Louis Chapter of the N.A.A. for "contributing materially to the progress of
aviation by exhibiting faith in the future of powered flight during the dawn of the air age".
Some of the Fowers' history and pictures are in the Missouri Historical Society's
Lindberg Collection at Jefferson Memorial Building in St. Louis.
After several unsuccessful attempts to help the city of Macon acquire
an airport, Fower gave his own landing strip and land to the city of Macon and it is now
Fower Memorial Airport.
Marie was killed in an automobile accident May 24, 1956, in Hot
Springs, Arkansas. Charley died February 2, 1967, at the Samaritan Hospital and is buried
in the family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery.
Look for the Fower home to be featured in the Macon Sesquicentennial
Most people in Macon probably have no idea who O. L. Cross was or what he did. However, he started something in Macon that spread through the county, and eventually throughout the state and the whole nation. When he was teaching school in March 1917, he displayed the American flag in his schoolroom. When he became the County Superintendent of Schools in 1927, he asked all the schools in the district to display the flag. They did, and from there it spread nationwide.