June Bacon-Bercey

June Esther Bacon-Bercey (née Griffin, October 23, 1928 – July 3, 2019) was an American international expert on weather and aviation[1] who worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service and the Atomic Energy Commission.[2]

June Bacon-Bercey
June Bacon-Bercey.png
June Bacon-Bercey, c. 1977
June Esther Griffin

(1928-10-23)October 23, 1928
DiedJuly 3, 2019(2019-07-03) (aged 90)
Alma mater
Scientific career
  • Meteorology
  • Radar metereology
  • Aviation meteorology
  • Weather forecasting

She was believed to be the first African-American woman to gain a degree in meteorology[3] and was confirmed to be the first African-American woman to be a televised meteorologist.[4]

Early life and educationEdit

Bacon-Bercey was born and raised in Wichita in 1928.[5][4][6] She earned her bachelor's degree in 1954 from the University of Kansas and her master's degree in 1955 from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).[5][7] She earned a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Southern California in 1979.[5]


Bacon-Bercey began her career as an engineer, when she worked for the Sperry Corporation, then worked for a variety of federal organizations including the United States Atomic Energy Commission (as a consultant), the National Weather Service Aviation Branch, and the National Meteorological Center.[7]

Beginning in 1979, Bacon-Bercey spent nearly ten years as the chief administrator for Television Weather Activities at NOAA and worked on a number of other projects.[2][7]

Increasing the participation of African-American women in metereology and geophysical science was a major focus for Bacon-Bercey. In 1978, she published an analysis of African-American meteorologists in the US.[8] She had won $64,000 as a contestant on The $128,000 Question in 1977, which she used to establish a scholarship fund for young women interested in atmospheric sciences, administered by the American Geophysical Union (AGU).[9][10] Bacon-Bercey served on the AGU's Committee on Women and Minorities in Atmospheric Sciences, and co-founded the American Metereological Society's Board on Women in Minorities.[5]

In 2006, Bacon-Bercey was featured in a book for young people, June Bacon-Bercey: a meteorologist talks about the weather.[11]


Bacon-Bercey was the first woman, as well as the first African-American, to be awarded the American Meteorological Society's Seal of Approval for excellence in television weathercasting when she was working at WGR in Buffalo, New York in the 1970s.[12]

In 2000, she was honored during a three-day conference at Howard University for her contributions including: helping to establish a meteorology lab at Jackson State University in Mississippi, her endowment of the scholarship, and her work in California's public schools.[13] Bacon-Bercey was also named a Minority Pioneer for Achievement in Atmospheric Sciences by NASA.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Bacon-Bercey was divorced three times to Walker Bacon Jr., John Bercey and George Brewer.[4] She had two daughters, Dawn-Marie and Dail.[4]

Bacon-Bercey died under hospice care in Burlingame, California from frontotemporal dementia on July 3, 2019 at the age of 90.[4] Her death was announced six months later.[6]


  1. ^ Pat Viets (March 15, 2000). "NOAA Supporting Conference in Atmospheric Sciences at Howard University". NOAA. Archived from the original on September 16, 2008. Retrieved February 13, 2008.
  2. ^ a b Bill Workman (March 23, 2000). "Substitute Science Teacher is a Meteorology Legend". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 13, 2008.
  3. ^ Chandler, D.L. "Little Known Black History Fact: June Bacon-Bercey". BlackAmericaWeb. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e "June Bacon-Bercey, 90, Pathbreaking Meteorologist, Is Dead". The New York Times. January 7, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e Spangenburg, Ray; Moser, Kit (2012). African Americans in Science, Math and Invention. Revised by Steven Otfinoski (Revised ed.). Facts on File, Inc. pp. 7–8. ISBN 9780816083312.
  6. ^ a b "June Bacon-Bercey, groundbreaking TV meteorologist, dies at 90". The Washington Post. January 7, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Warren, Wini (January 1, 1999). Black Women Scientists in the United States. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253336031.
  8. ^ Bacon-Bercey, June (May 1978). "Statistics on Black Meteorologists in Six Organizational Units of the Federal Government". Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 59 (5): 576–580. doi:10.1175/1520-0477(1978)059<0576:sobmis>2.0.co;2. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  9. ^ "June Bacon-Bercey wins $64,000 in TV quiz show" (PDF). NOAA News (Vol 2 No 10). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. May 13, 1977.
  10. ^ Anonymous (1978). "June Bacon-Bercey Scholarship in atmospheric sciences". Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union. 59 (12): 1012. Bibcode:1978EOSTr..59Q1012.. doi:10.1029/EO059i012p01012-01.
  11. ^ Weil, Ann (2006). June Bacon-Bercey : a meteorologist talks about the weather. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0618599541.
  12. ^ Pergament, Alan (July 25, 2018). "WGRZ's Genero, Waldman to make local TV history after O'Connell's departure". The Buffalo News. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  13. ^ Workman, Bill (March 23, 2000). "Substitute Science Teacher Is a Meteorology Legend / Weather pioneer June Bacon-Bercey given more honors". SFGate. Retrieved March 29, 2017.