CHARLESTON – West Virginia has lost another of its rare “Rosie the Riveters”.
Verla “Bobbie” Lamb, 98, died on Wednesday May 26 at her home in Elkins.
Lamb worked for Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Company in Baltimore, Maryland as “Rosie the Riveter” doing sheet metal and riveting jobs during World War II.
As part of the American Rosie Movement, Lamb contributed to the “Ringing the Bell for Rosie the Riveter” effort, which began in 2014 on Labor Day. In memory of all the Rosies, Verla was the first to ring the bell, which performed at Buckhannon-Upshur High School. Today, a bell rings around the world every Labor Day.
This description – from an Associated Press article by Lawrence Messina that appeared in West Virginia newspapers – explains the wartime efforts of the West Virginia Rosies:
They built fleets of Avengers and Marauders, planes that the Americans flew into combat during World War II. They carefully assembled countless explosive fuses and separated the chemicals to make TNT. Without knowing it at the time, some even made parts for the atomic bombs that helped end the war.
They were West Virginia people who served on the home front, among the millions of women who worked in defense factories to support the war effort. They are the real life behind the cultural icon known as ‘Rosie the Riveter’, and they’ve started telling their stories while they still can.
Rosies performed all manner of jobs as the United States increased war production, including those traditionally held by men when women replaced them upon entering the military. The effort to recruit the necessary manpower led to the images of the female patriotic worker in rolled up sleeves made famous by Norman Rockwell, J. Howard Miller and others. The propaganda campaign also spawned a hit song at the time.
The American Rosie Movement, led by Anne Montague, tells the story of Rosies and the American Rosie Movement.
In December 2012, Lamb was part of an interview with All Surviving West Virginia Rosies with Ann Curry from “TODAY”.
The following is taken from Lamb’s obituary:
Verla Katherine Shreve Lamb, 98, passed away from this life on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at her Elkins residence 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 affectionately referred to as “Grandma Bobbie” by her great-grandchildren.
She was born in Vegan, West Virginia on Saturday October 21, 1922 to her mother Hazel Talbott Shreve and raised by her grandparents, Hulda and Darius Talbott.
She graduated from Buckhannon-Upshur High School in the class of 1941.
She married Arnol Gordon Lamb on October 12, 1940 in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, and celebrated 63 years of marriage until her death on February 21, 2003.
Lamb was proud to have worked at Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Company in Baltimore, Maryland as “Rosie the Riveter”, doing sheet metal and riveting jobs 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 an accountant for 29 years until her retirement.
She is predeceased by her husband, Arnol; mother, Hazel Talbott Shreve; and brothers, Mike, Robert and Paul Shreve.
She is survived by her son, Arnol Lamb Jr. and his wife, Donna, of New Bern, North Carolina; granddaughter, Monica Christine Haskins and husband, Freddy, of New Bern, NC; great-grandchildren, Allison Nicole Haskins of New Bern, NC, Michael Haskins and wife, Emily, of Jacksonville, NC; 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 several 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 include a trip west, where she attended two of her great-grandchildren’s baptismal services at the “Cathedral of the Rockies” Methodist Church in Boise, Idaho; she saw the Hoover Dam as she fulfilled her dream of seeing the Grand Canyon and spent several days in Sedona, Arizona, and surrounding areas.
Other memorable events in her life were the celebration of her 60th wedding anniversary, her numerous birthday parties with her friends and family, and a family reunion with her siblings and their families were also special to her.
The family will receive friends at Lohr & Barb Funeral Home in Elkins from 4 pm to 7 pm on Friday June 4, 2021. On Saturday June 5, 2021, Mrs. Verla Lamb will be transferred to Woodford Memorial United Methodist Church, where The Rites finals will take place at 10:30 am
Reverend Jeremiah Jasper will officiate and interment will follow at Mount Union Cemetery in Sand Run, West Virginia. During the service, visitors are encouraged to share a brief personal memory of Verla.
The family suggests expressions of sympathy take the form of contributions to the Randolph County Homeless Shelter, 938 South Davis Ave., Elkins, WV 26241.
Lohr & Barb Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements for Verla Katherine Shreve Lamb. Condolences can be sent to the family at www.lohrbarbfuneralhome.com.