Background

The John and Mary Ellen Upperco Scholarship (Upperco Family Scholarship) has been established by their four sons; John Jr., Peter, Mark, Daniel and their families. Growing up in a family that emphasized higher learning, John and Mary Ellen wanted their sons to each earn a college degree.  Through much hard work, sacrificing, and perseverance, John and Mary Ellen were able to provide for their sons so each could obtain their college degrees.  The Scholarship was developed so deserving, qualified students can have an opportunity to achieve their educational goals and the Upperco family can pass on the gift of learning to future generations.

John Upperco, Sr. was born on October 11, 1921 in Boring, Maryland.  He served in the U.S. Navy on board the U.S. Chicago during World War II.  He began working for Lockheed Martin Corporation in 1951 in Baltimore, and in 1957 he was transferred to Orlando.  In 1968 John contracted histoplasmosis, a rare eye disease.  He was declared legally blind, which forced him into early retirement.  John Sr. passed away suddenly on July 24, 1989.


Mary Ellen Benson Upperco was born on October 24, 1924 in Baltimore, Maryland.  Mary Ellen and John were married February 11, 1950.  She was a homemaker and active in local organizations in Central Florida.  After John’s early retirement Mary Ellen worked for the U.S. Census Bureau for over 20 years to support her four sons through high school and ensure that they were able to earn their college degrees.  She passed away April 6, 1996.  Mary Ellen’s kindness, generosity, hospitality and ability to make everyone feel special are the reasons the family started the Mary Ellen Upperco Scholarship Fund.  Starting in 1996 with the 14th annual Upperco Golf Classic, the tournament became a memorial benefit for the scholarship.