Jeanette Ardell Vogt: Miss Georgia 1958
Fifty six years ago, an 18 year old girl representing Cobb County in the county’s very first Pageant, received the crown and banner of Miss Georgia 1958. I could hardly speak when my name was announced as the winner. All I could do was smile and enjoy the moment while thanking everyone.
Those were the days when evening gowns were voluminous and swimsuits always had a modesty panel. THe contestants in the Miss Georgia Pageant were all beautiful and talented, but somehow I was the one that received the bouquet of roses, the velvet robe, and white satin jeweled crown that night at the Columbus Municipal Auditorium where 600 people had to be turned away from a packed auditorium.
For the talent competition I gave a demonstration of archery skills which featured crushing an aspirin glued to a toothpick, bursting balloons, snuffing out a flaming birthday candle and hitting a small swinging rubber ball with an arrow. Dressed in a green and white satin Robin Hood costume, I used my skills to demonstrate the sport of archery, which I took up at the age of four. My father taught me how to shoot and encouraged me to practice every day to become a National Archery Champion. He helped me put together the 7 minute program especially for the Miss Georgia Pageant.
The Pageant gave me many opportunities to make public appearances throughout the entire state. I received a $1,000 scholarship to put toward my college education at the University of Georgia. I also prepared to participate in the 1959 Miss America Pageant that year. I was very busy but was always thrilled to represent our state of Georgia and all the wonderful people who supported me and worked so hard to make it a memorable year.
As I write this, I find it hard to believe that I am now 74 years old, as it seems like yesterday and the memories are so clear. Being Miss Georgia changes your life forever as one young woman will discover this week. I am so grateful to the Pageant officials and the people of Georgia who cheered me on during that magical year.
Following the Miss Georgia Pageant in 1958, I was able to use the scholarship to return to my Fine Art studies at the University of Georgia. After participating in the Miss America Pageant, I went on to win the title of MIss Dixie and received a week long trip to Cuba with the door to the island closing only a couple of months later. I opened McCollum Municipal Airport in Marietta with a solo flight, as the result of flying lessons I had received from the Miss Georgia Pageant.
After marrying and the birth of my two children, I moved to Indiana where I lived for 35 years. I had a 20 year career as an Advertising/Marketing Manager for a family business, which allowed me to use my artistic talents. At the time I added the job of Interior Designer for a family-owned golf course and clubhouse in Southern Indiana.
When my husband died I was only 60 years old. Five years later I married a former Iowa State basketball player and we moved to Southwest Florida. My two grandchildren are both freshman in college. My granddaughter is a talented vocalist and theater major at Indiana University. My grandson attends Villanova and will pursue a medical career like his father, a physician in Indianapolis. I also have five wonderful step-grandchildren.
Although I don’t live in Georgia now, I am next door in Florida. Retired life finds me staying active. I continue my life long love of painting. My husband and I are very involved in our church and in social events including golf…no more archery for me these days!