Mary Lou Petty

Mary Lou Petty-Skok (born April 5, 1915) is an American former competition swimmer who represented the United States in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. She competed in the women's 400-meter freestyle, and placed fourth in the event final. She was born in Spokane, Washington.

Petty was an adept swimmer by the age of eight and began swimming competitively at the age of thirteen. She had originally prepared to compete in the 1932 Summer Olympics, but the failure of her family's business during the Great Depression prevented her from acquiring the necessary financial backing. After becoming engaged to Bob Skok and taking a job as a secretary at Montgomery Ward, she moved to Seattle and qualified for the 400-meter freestyle at the 1936 Summer Games, having swum out of the Washington Athletic Club for the past three years. During this inter-Olympic period she set several national records. Her roommate on the boat to Berlin was Eleanor Holm Jarrett. Despite food poisoning, she managed to place 4th in the competition and recalls observing both German Leader Adolf Hitler and athlete Jesse Owens at the games. Upon her return to New York, she married Skok and eventually moved to Los Angeles, after Bob decided to pursue optometry. During World War II she helped build wings for the Lockheed Hudson bomber and the two remained together until Bob's death on March 27, 1998. As of 2011, she resides in Arizona.

Famous quotes containing the words petty, mary and/or lou:

    A petty bureaucrat always watches his superior’s countenance, just as a boatman trims his sails according to the force of the wind.
    Chinese proverb.

    The others “acted” a role; I was the role. She who was Mary Garden died that it might live. That was my genius ... and my sacrifice. It drained off so much of me that by comparison my private life was empty. I could not give myself completely twice.
    Mary Garden (1874–1967)

    Why don’t you come up sometime ‘n see me ? I’m home every evening ... come on up, I’ll tell your fortune.
    Harvey Thew, screenwriter, John Bright, screenwriter, and Lowell Sherman. Lady Lou (Mae West)