GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts and everyone has something to give.

On GIVING TUESDAY it is our hopes to raise $10,000. This will help us continue with our programs and move forward

You can donate via our Facebook page. Facebook does not charge any fees for a non-profit. You can either donate or start a fundraiser in our name.

Click the picture to be taken to the Facebook WMA #GivingTuesday Link.

You can donate via the WMA Website

You can mail a check made out to Women Marines Association and mail to :

Women Marines Association
25 Century Blvd, Ste 505
Nashville, TN 37214


To make a contribution to WMA Wreaths Across America click the link above and then click the red “Support” button under the WMA logo. You may also send checks to:

Wreaths Across America
P.O. Box 249
Columbia Falls, ME 04623

If you send a check, be sure to include WMA’s fundraising ID on the check (MI0040P) so WMA can get credit for these contributions.


You can support WMA by using our Amazon Smile link! For each purchase you make through this link WMA will get some of the proceeds as a donation. Amazon donates 0.05% of your purchase to the WMA General Fund. Click the graphic below!

Amazon Smile Link

I PLEDGE CAMPAIGN – Take the pledge to send a monthly donation to WMA. by joining “I Pledge” you can have an automatic draft sent from your bank or mail a monthly check. Use the account #GF001943 or write “I Pledge” on a check you mail in.

PLANNED GIVING – For most people, the easiest most convenient gift arrangement is an outright gift of cash or other property to WMA. You, as the donor, would receive a charitable contribution deduction for the full fair market value of the gift. Contact for more information.

Carol Mutter started the 60/200 program that runs thru the end of the year. She writes:

Unfortunately, we had to cancel our National Convention and Professional Development Conference in Omaha this year. I’m asking you to think about the money you would have spent on transportation, food, lodging, and incidentals to attend the convention and consider donating that amount, or whatever you’re comfortable with, to WMA to help us move forward into an exciting future. If you were not planning on attending the convention, please consider a donation anyway. Donors of $200 or more will receive the Omaha 60th anniversary coin and a special certificate recognizing the donor as a part of “Honoring the Past, Evolving into the Future.” Donors who send in $60 (but less than $200) will also get a WMA pin. All donors of funds regardless of amount will receive the special certificate.


By Sue Kaszynski

Ok here goes. I am going to qualify this. I have never hidden the fact that I have a very strong belief and faith in God. But I also have tried very hard not to shove my belief system down anyone’s throat. I hope just living my life to the best of my ability is enough to inspire others. So
take this or leave it. Just know these stories I am about to share are the absolute truth. They seem crazy and made up but they are not. I would never bull crap my sisters and I definitely would not disrespect my Lord by making up what I am about to tell you. But these events are what has cemented my relationship with God and how I manage to have the outlook I have today.

I have always had what my family called a sixth sense. I “knew” things before they happened. At first it freaked them out but as time went on they came to terms with it as I was never wrong.
Well one night ( I was about 12) I sat up in bed and started screaming. I woke up my parents and my sister. I never actually woke up. I just laid back down and rolled over. A little before 7 that morning I sat up in bed again have awake half asleep yelling “Larry Larry he’s dead” ( Larry
was my cousin and the oldest of my generation. ) I loved him because he would get into debates with me and challenge me. He had a genius IQ and was working on his PhD in English. Just as I woke up yelling the phone rang and it was my uncle stating that Larry had been killed
in a car accident. It turned out he died at the time I had woken up screaming. I became very angry with God. I told God that of all the people why did he take someone who had so much to offer. I had told Him that if that was the kind of God He was I wanted nothing to do with Him.
That is when Larry came to me. He said he had permission because he couldn’t rest knowing he was the cause of me turning away from God. I won’t go into the whole conversation but it was significant enough that I knew God was real. The next day when I told my mom she insisted
I dreamed it. I insisted I hadn’t. I told her everything Larry was wearing, and when she checked with my uncle it was everything I had described down to his initialed belt buckle.
Later in life I became angry again. ( yes I have been a very angry person during my lifetime). There was just so much going on in my life and in the world at the time and I didn’t understand it. I was driving down the road and turned the radio down and had a conversation with Him. I spilled out everything. I went on to tell him that I knew even though I had a genius IQ that if He were to come down and explained His grand plan to me I still wouldn’t understand it. But from my frail human stance His grand planned sucked big time and if He was trying to tell me something I was missing it. That He would have to hit me up beside the head with a 2×4 ( be careful what you ask for because He has done so on several occasions since then lol). Just then something prompted me to turn up the radio and the first line I heard was “why do you doubt me whenever I am out of sight”. I pulled over. I was shaking and crying. I realized then
that I didn’t get to pick and choose. If I were to believe then that meant having Faith even if I didn’t understand. Now don’t get me wrong I still get angry. I still don’t understand why things happen. But I don’t believe God doesn’t want us to get mad. Just get mad at situations. Not Him. He doesn’t create horrible things. He tries to use horrible things to have some good or meaning come out of it. Could He create miracles and cure cancer and all these other diseases? Of course. But we learn by adversity. We grow and develop. And growing hurts. ( that is why they are called growing pains).

Four People, Four Stories: God's Word is Touching Hearts in China | Biblica  - The International Bible Society

Another time was shortly after I started getting my long list of diagnostic disorders. I was at home after discovering I had at least a couple of autoimmune disorders when I developed a pulmonary embolism. I asked God tongue in cheek if He wanted to put a plague of locusts down on me while He was at it. At that moment He put His hand on my heart and told me there was a reason and a purpose I was going through all this. I developed such a sense of peace and calm and it has never left me.
I was never ever one to talk about my Faith. I went strictly by the rule living by example and that was it. I was never comfortable talking about God. After He put His hand on my heart He started pushing me to be more vocal. ( and yes He has used a 2×4 on more than one occasion lol) but without fail I would get feedback that someone had been struggling and my talking about my Faith in God was just what they needed to hear at that moment.
So this is why my Faith is so strong. He has demonstrated to me on so many occasions ( I just named a few here) that He is here, He is real, and that He listens. He also talks to us if we stop and listen.
But again if you don’t believe, I will respect that. I may not understand it any more than you probably don’t understand why I do, but I respect your right not to.
God is why I am the way I am. I hope to continue to grow and learn and become better than I am today.

Sue is a licensed therapist. Marine Veteran and Freelance writer for this blog. She has Dysautonomia, Ehlers and a number of other autoimmune disorders. She writes about her life, her struggles and most of all her fight to stay positive and never give up. She gives of her time freely despite various health issues to help veterans and anyone in need. This is her 7th blog.

Overcoming Brand Stereotypes as a Female Veteran

By Tralene Hunston

Women have been serving in the U.S. military for more than a century. As the years have passed, female service members’ roles, conflicts and responsibilities have shifted, ultimately progressing opportunities for the female service member.

Today, female veterans make up 10% of the veteran population. However, while the female veterans’ population and the opportunities granting equality to the women who serve have increased, they have still failed to eliminate the barriers of gendered stereotypes, in and outside of the military. Female service members are forced to confront and overcome these barriers in a way that their male counterparts and a seemingly unsympathetic public cannot understand. Women who find themselves exiting the service find themselves facing unique branding challenges.

Transitioning from the service to the civilian sector is already an arduous task. Female veterans have the added burden of branding themselves in a way that appeals to their veteran cohort and not venturing too far from gendered stereotypes. Female veterans have grown to understand the need to adjust to male-dominated industries, particularly if the culture of the workplace is threatened by a woman who succeeded in a category viewed as male-centric.

Biased employment
Veterans, not just female veterans, may face biased evaluations when entering the workforce. Portrayals of veterans in the media can drive employers’ concerns over the quality of the veteran candidate. Veterans must work on branding themselves in a way that overcomes the stigma provided by the media, but they must also overcome misconceptions held by employers when it comes to their professional experiences.

Photo of Joseph Tateoka

study conducted by Edelman found employers are skeptical that veterans’ soft skills, education levels and communication abilities can align with private-sector jobs. Understanding this knowledge, veterans face limitations and must selectively choose organizations that will understand the unique, diverse offerings they present and organizations that can see past stereotypes.

“Spend time researching the companies that you are interested in working at, and dig into what they stand for by reviewing their mission, vision and values,” Joseph Tateoka, vice president, talent director at Edelman, recommended. “Aligning your skills and experience to the job description and thinking through how to apply them is important when looking for your next career opportunity, but if an organization doesn’t value your service and experience, is that really a company you want to invest your time in?”

Some female veterans, particularly women of color, deal with an added cultural juxtaposition throughout their branding journey, of openly acknowledging that they are a veteran, or keeping their veteran experience private.

Photo of Annette Nance

“For me, as a Black woman and veteran, I make sure that I’m in these spaces, advocating, representing, speaking to what’s going on, ensuring that there is a conversation on diversity,” Annette Nance, Marine Corps veteran, said. “We also have to remember and share the historical trauma that Black veterans have experienced.”

Advocating for veterans and ensuring diverse populations are visible have helped define Nance’s postgraduate academic career. Still, neither of these positions defines who she is and the career goals she hopes to attain. She expresses the need to ensure that veterans do not allow others to begin making assumptions about what defines them.

“When people find out I’m a social worker, they assume I want to work for the VA; I don’t,” Nance said. “Be strategic with how you position yourself. Join a board in the area that interests you. I joined the Urban League Young Professionals of Greater Pittsburg so that I can learn and focus on an interest that I can relate to on a deeper level.”

Navigating crowded rooms
As women veterans work toward reintegrating with the civilian world, feelings of awkwardness and distrust may cause them to hold off on sharing information about their military service. This silence can leave them unsure of how to express themselves authentically, ultimately enhancing veteran stereotypes, as those with the loudest voices are the only ones being heard and shared.

Photo of Maria Espin

“As a female veteran, you get lumped into certain categories, particularly when it comes to highlighting trauma,” Maria Espin, Air Force and Marine Corps veteran, said. “You’re expected to be vocal about your service experience and to utilize social media platforms as your megaphone. That is the only time it seems people are listening, the only way we have today to propel our education and career.”

Not every veteran is comfortable vocalizing their experiences, nor does every veteran want to engage in the potential ethical boundaries of leveraging their veteran experiences for assumed benefits.

“Not all of us want to be recognized for serving our country all the time, and while we appreciate the sentiment, there is so much more to us than the one brief bullet point in our résumés,” Espin said. “How do we present ourselves as experienced professionals, despite our time in service being ‘leverage’ for professional gain?”

Moving forward
Being a veteran is a brand, but how do veterans move beyond this marker when some feel silenced by the veterans and organizations that promote their standard of a veteran? How can our society shift their perceived assumptions about female service members?

It starts with understanding the unique branding concerns they face — asking them about their interests and listening when they tell you what matters to them. With this small shift in empathetic behavior toward female veterans, we can provide them the opportunity to feel included and to thrive.

Tralene is a Marine veteran and current master’s student at the University of Alabama, studying advertising and public relations. With a focus on ethics in mass communication, Tralene strives to use her writing to drive awareness to narratives she finds important, particularly narratives surrounding female veterans.

Daily Struggles

The Faith to go on.

By Sue Kaszynski

I have tried writing this blog a few times but it never seemed “right”. It was almost as if I was forcing it. Previously the words just flowed. I have always said the Holy Spirit was guiding me as it was divine words not mine.

A Year of FHE: Don't Worry, It Will All Work Out.

Tonight seems right. I have really been struggling the last few weeks. It has taken me until today to realize just how bad I have struggled. I have felt the physical pain and limitations more but it didn’t really
“register “. Until tonight when I had difficulty just getting up from the couch. It hit me, how much longer will I be able to use the couch? Will I need to do the lift chair? ( I really don’t want to stay in the chair all the time; that is my give my body a break chair: I don’t want to rely on it all the time). Or do we modify the couch and make it higher ( which will make it difficult when we want to use the pull out bed). It is these seemingly random small things that all of a sudden aren’t so small of a issue.


The main reason I hadn’t clued in on how significantly I have worsened is because I am still doing. I am still cooking and cleaning and laundry. I am still doing volunteer work. My sense of humor is still intact . My perspective is in place. I am utilizing my support system. But most
importantly I have my Faith. I have realized for me at least if all is right with my soul then all is right with me . I am at peace.

Again this is not to shove my belief system down anyone’s throat but just to share what works for me. Live by example. I have no other explanation as to why I am not angry or resentful or sad other than my Faith.

Next blog I will talk about why I believe. ( And yes I will forewarn you I will sound like a crazy person but I’m not). And I encourage everyone to read it even if you don’t believe in God. You will get a sense as to who I am and why I am.

Nature Reviews Disease Primers on Twitter: "#Dystonia is characterized by  abnormal movements or postures caused by sustained muscle contractions…"
#Dystonia is characterized by abnormal movements or postures caused by sustained muscle contractions

Sue is a licensed therapist. Marine Veteran and Freelance writer for this blog. She has Dysautonomia, Ehlers and a number of other autoimmune disorders. She writes about her life, her struggles and most of all her fight to stay positive and never give up. She gives of her time freely despite various health issues to help veterans and anyone in need. This is her 6th blog.

The New Women Marines Association Interim Board

By Rhonda Amtower

I am proud to work together with our new 2020-2021 Board of Directors (BOD). Despite the convention cancellation, the outgoing and incoming BODs met yesterday, 5 Sept to conduct the business of WMA. During the outgoing BOD meeting, we closed out final business of this BOD to include the presentation of the National Service Award (NSA). The NSA is the highest award given to a person who goes above and beyond in their support of WMA.

The NSA was awarded to the following 3 recipients: Dottie Stover-Kendrick (Chair of the Scholarship Committee).

Dorothy Stover-Kendrick

Michael Pearce (Loyal Escort IPP and technical support guru)

Michael E. Pearce

and Mary Ellen Stone our National Secretary for her dedicated administrative support in all of the many positions on which she has served. Congratulations to all three recipients!

MaryEllen Stone

The members of the incoming 2020-2021 BOD were installed in a ceremony conducted by our Past National President Carol Mutter. The following 8 members will serve on the Interim Board until a new Governing BOD is defined and elected by the membership. Rhonda Amtower as National President, Betty Moseley Brown as the Immediate Past President, Rosa M. Frank-Osborn as the 1VP, Jeannine Franz as the 2VP, Pat Lewis as the 3VP, Mary Ellen MaryEllen Stone as the Secretary,Peggy Reiber as Treasurer and Jennifer Keane Homan as the Membership Secretary.

We will focus on the partnership with our Association Management Company, Virtual Inc. to help WMA transition to a new Way Forward to ensure our existence and relevance for another 60 years!Thank you to all those who served on the 2018-2020 BOD and those who will continue to serve on the new Interim BOD.

WMA is privileged to have such dedicated and motivated members working to lead WMA into its next 60 years.

Semper Fidelis!

Rhonda Amtower

National President.

Chaos Defined Chaos Refined

By Sue Kaszynski

One of my many talents ( insert big laugh here) had been to create and maintain chaos. Which upon reflection was because of my pathological need for control. Sounds diametrically opposed doesn’t it? You see I had to have strict control over myself and my immediate surroundings. My control freak. By having utter chaos surrounding me it gave the illusion that I was in control of me at least. Looking back it sounds pretty whacked out to me also. But it served its purpose…..until it didn’t.

Wherefore art thou, chaos?. The Mission News: Wednesday September… | by  Mission | | Medium

It wasn’t until I met my husband that I realized I didn’t need those dysfunctional coping skills. For the first time ever I was safe. And that was pretty scary in the beginning. Growing and learning is a process even as an adult. And it takes time.

I am now 65 and I am still growing and learning and evolving. Recent events have shown me that I will always need to evolve because the world around me is evolving. I give sincere thanks to my black Marine Corps sisters who helped me to see how much more I had to do.

I know not everyone believes in God. That is ok ( I don’t fully understand but I accept it). I never want to cram my belief system down someone else’s throat. But my Faith in God is what has gotten me through so much in my life. He has guided me and has helped me through this process called life. He gives me strength to deal with everything thrown at me. He gives me wisdom in knowing what to say. He gives me more blessings than I can count. Including al my health issues. He gives me peace.

The God of Your Understanding - How to Define Your Higher Power - The SHAIR  Recovery Podcast

I encourage everyone to find their own higher power. Something bigger and more awe inspiring than they themselves could ever be. Find a source of strength, of peace, of wisdom. From there whole new avenues open up, like humor and perspective just to name a couple.

I never considered myself broken. I am forged in fire and it has made me stronger. People tried to rob me of me, of my soul, of my identity, my purpose. I chose to use it all to reinforce who I am. I chose. There are many things we don’t control but we do control choice.

Sue is a licensed therapist. Marine Veteran and Freelance writer for this blog. She has Dysautonomia, Ehlers and a number of other autoimmune disorders. She writes about her life, her struggles and most of all her fight to stay positive and never give up. She gives of her time freely despite various health issues to help veterans and anyone in need. This is her 5th blog.

Taking a Stand

By Sue Kaszynski

I have always been an outspoken mouthy individual. Even as a kid I didn’t hesitate to argue with authority figures if I felt I was right. For some reason I never got into trouble for it. I’m not sure if it was because I only did it when I knew I was right, or because of the confidence I had, or if it was just my general personality. I was always considered someone not to mess with. I would beat up bullies. It didn’t matter if the bully was a kid or an adult .i fought for the underdog.

Image may contain: one or more people, hat and closeup

When I joined the Corps ( I was a little older than normal, I was 21).
Even when I was in the Corps I tend to really stand up against anyone trying to bully me or harass me. I had an officer call me in his office and offered to help me get promoted which I politely declined and left. He tried this a couple times and finally came into the office where I was at and ordered the Sgt out of the room and ordered me up to his BOQ That night to “watch television” or he would write me up an every conceivable charge he could think of. I informed him he left me no choice I would come up but it couldn’t be that night it would have to be the next night. He wanted to know what was so important that I couldn’t come up and a very sweet voice I told him, it’s easy sir I need to write your wife a letter and tell her what you’re doing”. He
left the office and never bothered me again. As he rotated out he came up to me to apologize for his behavior and I ripped him a new one I actually had the man in tears. I informed him that had I given in it would’ve been tantamount to rape and how would he feel if somebody done that to his wife or his daughter. That he was abusing his power and that was conduct unbecoming an officer and that he should be beyond ashamed of himself. I like to think he never harassed anyone else again.

I had a Gunny at another base who was a piece of work to everyone, male or female. Him and I definitely locked horns on more than one occasion. Thankfully the Master Sgt heard one of the worse exchanges and when Gunny threatened me ( granted I had him by the throat up against a wall) the Master Sgt came out and called the Gunny out and said if I hadn’t just nailed him the Master Sgt would have. Later the Gunny informed me that he was going to do everything in his power to make me miscarry ( I was already a high risk pregnancy). I requested MAST which he tried to refuse ( again the guy was a piece of crap). I went into my LT office and told him we had a problem. Informed him what was occurring with the Gunny and stated that if he succeeded that I would end up in the brig because I would kill the SOB. Not a threat but a solemn promise. Just then Gunny burst into the office and threatened to write me up for jumping chain of
command and that my ass was his. LT looked at him, then me, then back at him. Informed him that he had called me into his office, that the gunny was in a world of hurt for bursting into his office and that he would deal with him later. He also ordered him to go to his office and not to leave it until he was called for. LT then called the commanding general, told him we had a situation and that there was a Marine whose life was in danger and they had to get me off base.
The CG called my husband’s command (120 miles away) and instructed them to send him to get me immediately. The LT called in another MP and instructed him to take me around to do an
emergency mustering out with instructions that if the gunny approached me that he was to get one warning to stop and back off and if he didn’t the MP was to shoot to kill. I was ordered never
to have contact with anyone from base as they were afraid he would find me.

While I regret and I miss some wonderful friends I was very fortunate in that I had a superior officer who believed me. Personally I also think he was afraid that if I did miscarry I would without hesitation have killed the man.

So through everything that I have gone through for whatever reason I have just kept coming out stronger. That isn’t to say I hadn’t developed some less than desirable coping skills ( creating
and maintaining chaos was one along with being a major control freak). Once I got older, was in a safe relationship ( God I love my husband) and was able to really stop and look and reflect I
realized what I needed to do in my life.

So in the next blog how Sue managed to live in a screwed up life ( we all live in screw ups, chaos, and ongoing growing pains)

Sue is a licensed therapist. Marine Veteran and Freelance writer for this blog. She has Dysautonomia, Ehlers and a number of other autoimmune disorders. She writes about her life, her struggles and most of all her fight to stay positive and never give up. She gives of her time freely despite various health issues to help veterans and anyone in need.



By: Jon D, Hodgin

 She was born Winifred Baer on a dairy farm near the small town of Callicoon, New York on August 13, 1922.  She graduated high school and then attended Albany State Teacher’s College, where she obtained a degree in education at the age of 19.  She taught high school for one year. At the age of 20, she rode the train by herself to Grand Central Station in New York City and joined the US Marine Corps Women’s Reserve at the recruiting office there.  Returning to the farm my grandfather asked her, “Do you know what you’re doing?” She reportedly said, yes, that she did. When he asked why, she reportedly said, “the Marines are the best and I like their hat.”  She tells us that she had seen the newly designed uniform for the Women’s Marine Corps on the cover of Life magazine, reportedly designed by a French designer.  It remains one of her greatest treasures and she proudly wears it on patriotic holidays.

She was posted to Camp Lejeune for boot camp. We believe that she was in one of the first companies of female Marines through Camp Lejeune.  She states that immediately after boot camp, it became known that she had a been a teacher, and she was then assigned to the Instructor Barracks there with the assignment of helping to write the field manual for the women recruits. In addition, during her time there she tells us that she taught munitions training, small arms, and aircraft identification.

In 1944 at Camp Lejeune, she met my father,  John Edward Hodgin, who had served with the 3rd Marine Division at Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and Guam. During the Guam campaign, he and his gun crew were poisoned by the Japanese,. He was one of only two survivors of his gun crew and woke up in a morgue tent on Guam. He was shipped back to the United States and spent some time in the Philadelphia Naval Hospital, where he was classed as 100% blind, service connected. He was then transferred to Camp Lejeune North Carolina, his home state, to await his discharge. He was a recipient of the Purple Heart.  During his time at Camp Lejeune he met my mother on what they both termed an actual “blind date”.  She has repeatedly said he was the most handsome man she had ever met, and that he reminded her of Clark Gable.

They were married in 1944 and she cared for him until his passing in 2013 from cancer.  I’ve often felt that it was a great leap of faith for her to marry a blind man who had yet to complete high school.  My father went on to not only complete high school, but also college and then a PhD in Social Work at Oklahoma State.  I firmly believe that he could not have done this without the continuing and freely given help and assistance from my mother. She looks back with great pride on her service in the Marine Corps.

Her Obituary:

Winifred (‘Winnie’) Baer Hodgin, a World War II Veteran of the Marine Corps, passed away on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at her home in the Atrium, where she had lived for the past 4 years. She was 95. Prior to coming to Gainesville, she resided first in Miami, Florida and then in Oviedo, Florida. She traveled extensively through the Southwestern United States, in particular, Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico, where she developed her passion for Native American Art and culture. ‘Winnie’ was preceded in death by her husband, John E. Hodgin in 2013. She is survived by her loving son, Jon D. Hodgin, MD (Susan Hill), her granddaughter, Katherine Hodgin, MD (Sergio Lopez), and her two great grandchildren, John Sergio and Magdalena Lopez-Hodgin.

Winnie was born on a dairy farm in Calicoon, New York, a hamlet of the town of Delaware, on August 13, 1922. She attended Albany State Teacher’s College, where she obtained a degree in education at the age of 19, and later completed graduate studies at the University of North Carolina. She taught high school for one year. At the age of 22, she rode the train by herself to Grand Central Station in New York City and joined the US Marine Corps Women’s Reserve. Following boot camp she was promoted to Corporal and served as an instructor at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where she taught munitions training, small arms, and aircraft identification.

In 1944 at Camp Lejeune, she met her future husband, a recipient of the Purple Heart, who had served with the 3rd Marine Division at Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and Guam, where he had been blinded during combat. They married in 1945 and for the next 68 years she lovingly cared for him, always demonstrating a tough resilience and an unfailingly optimistic outlook on life.

Winnie continually looked back at her service as a United States Marine as one of the ‘best times’ of her life. She loved the Marines and still wore her Marine Uniform hat on every Veteran’s Day. Winnie was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother and will be sorely missed by her family and by all those who knew her.

Lillian “Bambi” Anita Bamberger Simonson

USMCWR 1923 – 1986

By: Michael Simonson

Lillian Anita Bamberger Simonson (Bambi) was born in New York City in 1923 and died in Fort Dodge Iowa in 1986. She was raised in lower Manhattan, New York City. She joined the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve in 1943.

She met her husband, LeRoy (Swede) Donald Simonson, while both were serving in the Marine Corps. 

In 1945 after her honorable discharge from the Marines as a corporal, she moved to a rural farm in Northwest Iowa.

She, and her baby boy Mike who was born in 1945, lived on the farm with her husband’s parents and his seven brothers and sisters until Swede returned from the South Pacific at the conclusion of World War II. LeRoy was deployed to the South Pacific in WW II where he attained the rank of Master Technical Sergeant as part of a Torpedo Bomber Unit (VMTB131). He served on islands throughout the South Pacific until the end of the war in the Pacific.

After WW II, he returned to Iowa and enrolled at Iowa State University where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Educational Leadership. He became an Iowa school teacher after college, eventually in Fort Dodge, Iowa where he served as the vocational agriculture teacher, the Audio-Visual Coordinator, and ultimately moving into educational administration until his retirement. LeRoy and Lillian (Swede and Bambi) lived in Fort Dodge where he enjoyed golfing, fishing, and spending time with friends. He was a member of St. Olaf Lutheran Church, the Lions, the America Legion, and other civic organizations. He was honorably discharged as a Master Technical Sergeant from the USMC.

In 1946, Swede and Bambi moved to Ames, Iowa where they lived in Pammel Court while Swede finished his Degree in Agricultural Engineering at Iowa State.  After he graduated, they eventually moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa where LeRoy served as a teacher and school administrator. Bambi worked in a bank, a law firm and ultimately at Iowa Lutheran hospital. In 1952 her second son Don was born – Don Simonson is currently chair of the Department of Music and Theatre at Iowa State University and his wife Gaye serves as executive assistant to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Michael is married to Margaret Simonson. They live in Cooper City, Florida where Margaret is an elementary school library media specialist and Mike is a Professor of instructional technology and distance education at Nova Southeastern University. Michael was honorably discharged as a Captain in the USMC (R) in 1975 after service in the US, Okinawa, and Viet Nam.

Lillian Anita Bamberger Simonson is a heroine for many reasons – she raised her younger sister and older brother after her mother died when she was 12. She served honorably in the US Marine Corps from 1943-45 at a time when women almost never served in the military. She was one of the first groups of Women Marines to enlist in New York City (see newspaper clippings). After her service, she moved to rural Iowa where she raised a family. She was a valued employee with many friends. She always expected the best from her husband LeRoy, and her sons Mike and Don. She epitomizes the hard-working, self-reliant, and loving woman her friends and family loved to call Bambi and her children loved to call mom; and she never lost her New York accent, as was always proud of her service as a Marine. She taught her children all the verses of the Marine Corps hymn before they were ten.