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In Her Corner: Daughter of meteorology icon opens up about mother's legacy

Posted at 12:35 PM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 10:20:30-05

“No is never the final answer and purpose in everything you do," said Dail St.Claire.

St. Claire is the daughter of June Bacon-Bercey who was a trailblazer in the atmospheric science world.

Her career included positions at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, The National Weather Service and the Atomic Energy Commission. However, St. Claire explained being a woman, let alone an African American in the 50s, didn't make her climb to success easy.

"She went to UCLA knowing she was going to do meteorology, and her academic advisor told her to pursue home economics. "

That was one of many hurdles for June. While working at the National Weather Service in the 70s, she applied for a job as a Chief Meteorologist at a news station in Buffalo, New York. She was given a science reporter job instead.

Months later the Chief Meteorologist was unexpectedly fired, and June told her boss that she was ready to step in for the job.

"She did the news that night, and subsequently other nights, as interim Chief," explained St. Claire. "Within a couple of months, she was officially named the Chief Meteorologist. That is a testament not just to her fearlessness and her drive but also her preparation."

That's when June became America's first TV female meteorologist. There were female weather forecasters at the time, but they didn't have the meteorology education. June broke down barriers for many after her. That's something Fox 4 Meteorologists Derek Beasley and Cindy Preszler dove deeper into to further explain the magnitude of her impact.

"She was definitely a pioneer who paved the way for women like me who started in the business a long time ago," said Preszler.

"She had such a significant impact on the profession whether it was women or minority women, and coupled with the fact that she had the science to go behind it," explained Beasley.

In July, June lost her battle to Frontotemporal Dementia at the age of 90. Her dying wish was to relaunch her foundation in order to continue her legacy and help women seeking careers in atmospheric science.

" A dollar is as important as $100 or even $1,000," said St. Claire. "When she passed, she didn't want a large funeral service. Anyone who was going to get on a plane or in a car, and come to my funeral, I [she] would rather them put that money to the scholarship."

If you would like to learn more about June Bacon-Bercey's Scholarship Foundationclick here.