CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Another sad observation comes this Memorial Day Weekend as West Virginia loses another of its few remaining “Rosie the Riveters.”
Verla “Bobbie” Lamb, 98, died Wednesday, May 26, at her home in Elkins.
Lamb was proud to have worked at Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Company at Baltimore, Maryland, as a ‘Rosie the Riveter,’ doing sheet metal and riveting work during World War II.
As part of the American Rosie Movement, Lamb helped with the “Ringing the Bell for Rosie the Riveter” effort, which began in 2014 on Labor Day. In memory of all Rosies, Verla was the first to do the ringing of the bell, which occurred at Buckhannon-Upshur High School. Today a bell is rung around the world every Labor Day.
Anne Montague, founder and leader of the American Rosie Movement and “Thanks,” said Lamb was the Rosie to ring the bell at the first ‘Ring a Bell for Rosies’ event, which is now an international event.
This description — from an article by Lawrence Messina of the Associated Press that was featured in the West Virginia newspapers — explains the war time efforts of the West Virginia Rosies:
They built fleets of Avengers and Marauders, aircraft that Americans flew into battle during World War II. They carefully assembled countless explosive fuses and separated the chemicals for making TNT. Unknowingly at the time, some even crafted parts for the atomic bombs that helped end the war.
They are West Virginians who served on the home front, among the millions of women who worked at defense plants to supply the war effort. They are the real lives behind the cultural icon known as “Rosie the Riveter,” and they’ve begun telling their stories while they still can.
Rosies performed all sorts of jobs as the U.S. ramped up war production, including those traditionally held by men as women replaced them entering the armed forces. The effort to recruit the needed labor force led to the images of the feminine, rolled-sleeved patriotic worker made famous by Norman Rockwell, J. Howard Miller and others. The propaganda campaign spawned a hit song at the time as well.
The American Rosie Movement, led by Anne Montague, tells the story of Rosies and about the American Rosie Movement.
In December 2012, Lamb was honored to be a part of an interview with all surviving West Virginia Rosies with Ann Curry of the TODAY show.
As part of the bell ringing and recognition of Rosies, the American Rosies Moment has designating six cities as Model Rosie Cities: Huntington, WV: Washington, DC; Camden, SC; Brunswick, MD; Philadelphia, PA,; Washington, DC
But this Memorial Day Weekend, Montague said the remaining Rosies will be thinking of Lamb and her efforts at the first ‘Ring a Bell for Rosies’ event.
The following is from Lamb’s obituary:
Verla Katherine Shreve Lamb, 98, departed this life Wednesday, May 26, 2021, at her residence in Elkins after a brief illness.
She was a loving wife and devoted mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She was known as “Bobbie” to all her friends and family and lovingly called “Grandma Bobbie” by her great grandchildren.
She was born in Vegan, West Virginia, on Saturday, Oct. 21, 1922, to mother Hazel Talbott Shreve and raised by grandparents, Hulda and Darius Talbott.
She graduated from Buckhannon-Upshur High School in the class of 1941.
She married Arnol Gordon Lamb on Oct. 12, 1940, in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, and celebrated 63 years of marriage until his death on Feb. 21, 2003.
Lamb was proud to have worked at Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Company at Baltimore, Maryland, as a ‘Rosie the Riveter,’ doing sheet metal and riveting work during World War II. …
She lived with Arnol and their son, Arnol Jr., in Baltimore, Maryland, until 1950, when they returned to Elkins and she worked at Hogan’s as a bookkeeper for 29 years until she retired.
She is preceded in death by husband Arnol; mother, Hazel Talbott Shreve; and brothers, Mike, Robert and Paul Shreve.
She is survived by her son, Arnol Lamb, Jr. and wife, Donna, of New Bern, North Carolina; granddaughter, Monica Christine Haskins and husband, Freddy, of New Bern, North Carolina; great grandchildren, Allison Nicole Haskins of New Bern, North Carolina, Michael Haskins and wife, Emily, of Jacksonville, North Carolina; great-great-grandchildren, Riley and Liam; grandson, Brandon Arnol Lamb and wife, Leeza, of Yakima, Washington; great-grandchildren, Samantha Donna Lamb, Xarah Virginia Lamb, Kalub Arnol Lamb, Rebecca Caroline Lamb and Abraham Brandon Lamb, all of Yakima, Washington; her sister, Wannie Harris of Hugesville, Maryland; and many nieces and nephews, who were very special to her.
She was a member of the Woodford Memorial United Methodist Church for 50 years. She was active in her community and was always there to help others. She was president of the Garden Club and while a member of Beta Alpha Beta was chosen Secretary of the Year.
Her fondest memories were a trip out west, where she got to participate in two of her great grandchildren’s baptismal services in the “Cathedral of the Rockies” Methodist Church in Boise, Idaho; she saw the Hoover Dam as she proceeded to fulfill her dream of seeing the Grand Canyon and spent several days in Sedona, Arizona, and surrounding areas.
Other memorable events in her life were her 60th wedding anniversary celebration, her many birthday parties with friends and family and a family reunion with her siblings and their families were also special to her.
The family will receive friends at the Lohr & Barb Funeral Home of Elkins from 4 to 7 p.m., Friday, June 4, 2021. On Saturday, June 5, 2021, Mrs. Verla Lamb will be moved to the Woodford Memorial United Methodist Church, where Final Rites will be conducted at 10:30 a.m.
The Rev. Jeremiah Jasper will officiate and interment will follow at the Mount Union Cemetery at Sand Run, West Virginia. During the service, visitors are encouraged to share a brief personal memory of Verla.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Randolph County Homeless Shelter, 938 South Davis Avenue, Elkins, WV 26241.
The Lohr & Barb Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements for Verla Katherine Shreve Lamb. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.lohrbarbfuneralhome.com.
This story provided to its members by the West Virginia Press Association.