Steve Fossett was one of America's greatest adventurers of the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century. In 2005, he became the first person to fly around the world in a plane alone without refueling. He was reported missing on September 3, 2007. He was piloting a light aircraft, and he was flying solo. He did not return to his southern Nevada ranch after taking off at mid-morning.
Fossett was born in Jackson, Tennessee, on April 22, 1944. His family later moved to Garden Grove, California. That is where Steve grew up. His interest in adventure really started when he became a Boy Scout. He climbed his first mountain at the age of twelve. From then on, he just kept taking on bigger and bigger challenges. He earned the Boy Scouts' highest rank of Eagle at age thirteen. He is reported to have said that scouting was the most important activity of his youth.
Fossett was always trying something that required him to push himself. While Steve Fossett attended Stanford University, his fraternity brothers convinced him to swim from the mainland to Alcatraz Island and put up a banner that read "Beat Cal" on one of the recently closed prison walls. Fossett easily completed the one and one-quarter mile swim to the island, but a guard kept him from erecting the banner against Stanford's rival, the University of California at Berkeley.
He graduated from Stanford in 1966 with a degree in economics. In 1968, he married Peggy Viehland. He received his master's in business education at Washington University in St. Louis the same year. He started out working for IBM. Fossett held a variety of jobs in the business world before becoming a stockbroker. After fifteen years of working for others, he opened his own firm, Marathon Securities and Lakota Trading. He earned millions of dollars in this career, and he used his earnings to finance his hobby as an adventurer.