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Lawrence, who worked her way up from a US$150-a-month secretarial job to become, by wide acknowledgment, the first woman to break into the airline industry’s executive ranks, died on Oct. 29 at her home in Manhattan.
She was 105.
Carlene Roberts Lawrence, who worked her way up from a US$150-a-month secretarial job to become, by wide acknowledgment, the first woman to break into the airline industry’s executive ranks, died on Nov.
Lawrence, who was known as Carlene Roberts at the time, was elected vice-president of American Airlines in 1951, when few women were being admitted into the executive suites of any industry. When the company’s board elected her, at 37, newspapers and magazines published profiles of her that marvelled at her corporate climb.
But a corporate office had scarcely been her dream destination when she graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1934. She always said that if she had not needed a job during the Depression, she would have pursued her ambition to become an actress.
Her organizational ability was soon recognized by O.
To help with the move, Ms. Roberts was named director of a newly established housing department, a new kind of corporate unit at the time, with a mission to relocate 700 employees and their families to New York.
In 1942, she was named assistant to Mr. Mosier and transferred to Washington.
She was also given a raise, to $300 a month. She recalled in an interview in 1997 that when she was finally given a few minutes to meet C.
“She was the first woman executive in the airline industry by many years,” said Stanley Gewirtz, who was a vice president of the Air Transport Association in 1951 and later held executive posts with National Airlines, Western Airlines and Pan American World Airways.
“At the time it was a business full of macho executives who regarded women as someone to stay home and look after children, but she was unique and superbly talented. She was the best lobbyist I ever tangled with.
” (Gewirtz died in 2005.)
Mr. Lewis said she resigned of her own accord to devote herself to her husband, who died in 1962.
She leaves several step-grandchildren.