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Mary Florence O’Shea was born September 8th, 1920. She graduated from Rosary College in 1941. From there she attended University of Chicago Teachers’ College and Loyola University from 1941 to 1943. During that same period she taught math at Wendell Phillips High School and chemistry at Marshall High School.
In 1943 she, along with her sister Mary Jane, enlisted in the Naval WAVES program, and served as a Navigation Instructor, Navigation Training Officer and Assistant Communications Officer, until 1946. Mary Florence and her sister Mary Jane were the first women ever to serve on military flight crews.
During the years of 1952-1954 she received a Fulbright Grant to teach in Burma. She taught for the State's Central High School from June 1953-1954, and was given the name Daw Myint Swe by her students and associates, who continued to use this address in their correspondence with her over the years. While in Southeast Asia she used the opportunity to visit Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand, finally returning to the United States via Hawaii in April of 1954.
After returning from her travels and work in Burma, Mary Florence began work with Phillips High School. On March 14, 1955 she was transferred from Phillips High to the Hyde Park High School, an assignment which began March 14, 1955. Mary Florence was later appointed principal of Philip Murray School on September 7, 1959. She later served as principal for Luke O'Toole Elementary School from 1964 until . She retired from Chicago Public Schools on December 20th, 1985.
Mary Florence continued to travel until the early 2000s. She passed away on the 20th of February, 2010.
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