Fair winds and following seas…


Please bow your heads in silence remembering that these women Marines were an example for us to follow and we shall promise that their memory will not fade from us.

AREA 4 OH-1  Emerald Chapter 

Gene Manchester Life Member

Gene E. Manchester, Canfield, Ohio - obit

CANFIELD, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Ms. Gene E. Manchester, 97 of Alliance, formerly of Canfield, died Monday evening, August 19, at Alliance Community Hospital.

Gene was born December 24, 1921 in Ellsworth, a daughter of the late Warren L. and Ruth (Beardsley) Manchester and was a lifelong area resident.

After graduating from high school, Gene served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II.

Following her discharge from the service she attended Youngstown College and earned an associate degree in business administration.

She worked as a bookkeeper for Carbonic Dispenser for 14 years and then for the C.F. Simmers Division, Canfield from 1968 until she retired in 1994.

Gene was a member of Canfield Presbyterian Church, the Ellsworth Grange and had volunteered in various capacities in the area.

She leaves her sister, Ora Nisbet of Arizona; many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, nephews and great-great-nieces and nephews.

Besides her parents, Gene was preceded in death by a  brother, Paul  Manchester and a sister, Esther Snyder.

Private graveside services were held at Canfield Village Cemetery.

AREA 4 OH-1  Emerald Chapter 

Beulah Szczurek Life Member

Beulah Mae Szczurek, Southington, Ohio - obit

SOUTHINGTON, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Beulah Mae Szczurek, known to her friends as Boots, age 95, formerly of Southington, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 at her home surrounded by her family.

She was born November 24, 1923 in Advance, Arkansas and grew up in Warren, Ohio with her parents Hazel Minerva (Dillion) and Harry James Baughman.

She graduated from Warren G Harding High School, class of June 1941.

Boots joined the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve and was sworn in on April 28, 1944 in Washington D.C. She did her basic training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and then was stationed in San Francisco. Her job, at the Depot of Supplies was to keep track of supplies/parts for tanks and airplanes. It was there that she met Joseph Francis Szczurek (with his irresistible smile and blue eyes) and they were married on December 23, 1944. Boots was honorably discharged October 26, 1945 as a Private First Class.

Beulah lived most of her life in Southington, Ohio, where she bravely and proudly raised seven children. She was a Cub Scout Den Mother, 4-H Mom, horse show Mom, The Ohio State University Buckeye Mom, diehard Cleveland Indians fan and a proud Grandma (Baba). She was a very talented crafter and seamstress, creating incredible crochet and beaded items, including a wedding dress and a few prom dresses. She also enjoyed flower gardening, traveling (especially to Hawaii), rescuing homeless cats and going to the casinos with her friends. She loved the companionship of her cats but also loved her dogs; especially that of her latest friend, Lucy. Her favorite musicians included Andy Williams and Gene Autry.

Our Mom was a very strong and tenacious person and instilled that mindset in all of us. She continued serving her country by assisting local veteran organizations in any way she could and by being a member of the Southington American Legion Post #751, where she served as Commandant.

She is preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Joseph of 68 years; her daughters, Dr. Judith Szczurek-Bourne and Mary Kathryn Pawcio; her sister, Mary Ella Curtiss; her brother, Willis Dean Baughman and her grandson, David Michael Szczurek.

Mom is survived and will be sorely missed by daughters, Patricia Szczurek (Buddy Manos) of Newton Township, Ohio and Elizabeth Szczurek-Raub (Randy Raub) of Waseca, Minnesota; sons, Michael (Carol), Richard and David (Lenett) Szczurek, all of Southington, Ohio; 15 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Calling hours will be at the James Funeral Home on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. A military service will follow at 12:00 p.m.

Cremation will follow the service.

Donations can be made in her memory to the American Legion Post #751, 3145 Warren Burton Road, Southington, OH 44470 or to TNR of Warren, Inc., 2428 Elm Road, Warren, OH 44484.

AREA 4 OH-1/OH-2  Emma Holmes Chapter (Sgt. Emma Holmes passed away on December 5th, 2013).

Emma C Holmes - OH 2


Emma received one of the first National Service Awards for her work locating the women veterans of WWI, her research covered from 1962-1976. Emma spent most of her life wheel chair bound, the apparent result of an active duty injury, her disability never stopped her from being involved with WMA in its formative years thru recent day. One project she volunteered to take charge of (right after the 1960 formation of WMA) was locating the women Marines of WWI.

Emma while hospitalized had met two of the WWI women who were VA volunteers, this chance meeting lead to a gathering of 134 names. Emma wrote each a handwritten letter explaining WMA and the associations interest in having them join the organization. Emma received a total of 77 names, all thrilled with the formation of WMA, while not all of them joined, they did want to maintain contact with their Marine Corps buddies. Emma’s response was the creation of the “World War One” derfuls” Newsletter”. The WWI women would write a quarterly letter to Emma who would type them (on a manual typewriter) , then hand mimeograph the pages, staple them and send them to the WWI women on her list. This newslatter was often 20 pages on the largest legal typing paper available, a massive effort on manual equipment

Years later as our WWI veterans faded away and Emma moved into assisted living she entrusted her files, newsletters, and photos to Sue Sousa and Eileen Scanlon. Sue and Eileen ever faithful to WMA history kept these rare documents safe for a number of years when they passed them on the Women of the Corps Collection. In the 2006 time frame the WOCC had started a search for the names of all WWI members, this was not an easy task and in 20009-2010 time frame a standstill was reached with 277 out of the anticipated 305 WWI women veterans. The arrival of Emma’s treasure of information spurred on and kick started the search, once again, using data Emma had received from the WWI women themselves. By 2012 a complete listing of the actual 316 names of the WWI women with their service numbers and many with their MOS’s known for the first time.

The work of Emma Holmes has provided the WOCC with a wealth of accurate information that lead to our new knowledge of women’s early history as United States Marines. As I journeyed through her files I came to appreciate Emma as a rare and unique woman who took on a long and arduous historical search that provided our WWI veterans the contact with their buddies they sought, membership in WMA and our history an accurate past.

8/22/18 Update: Due to a request from Marines from Emma’s chapter, the Women Marines Association approved the request of  renaming of the Chester Puller Chapter to The Emma C. Holmes Chapter.  

AREA 4  KY-1 Winning Colors Sarah Helena O’Quinn (passed away on Saturday, August 11th, 2018)

Sara O'Quinn -KY-1

Sarah Helena O’Quinn, 93, of Louisville, Kentucky passed away on August 11, 2018.

Sarah was a Marine during WWII, serving in Hawaii and San Diego, CA. She was a member of the Women’s Marine Corps Association, and was awarded as an honorary Kentucky Colonel.

Sarah enjoyed being a mother, wife and grandmother. She loved to travel, U of L Basketball and the movie, “Sound Of Music”.

She was born on September 4, 1924, in Greene County, Pennsylvania to the late Harry and Louella Gray. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Charles Gustafson O’Quinn; son, Victor Conrad O’Quinn; sisters, Thelma Clutter and Geraldine Fischer.

Sarah is survived by her children, Charles Jefferson O’Quinn (Kathy), of Louisville, KY, Myron Lee O’Quinn (Karen), of Clermont, FL; grandchildren, Charles Patrick O’Quinn (Bonnie), of Mascoutah, IL, Christopher Lee O’Quinn (Jackie), of Louisville, KY, Barbara Renee’ O’Quinn (John Williams, Sr.), of Louisville, KY and Kara Lee Cain (Tyler), of Tampa, FL; great-grandchildren, Dillon Michael O’Quinn, Kaley Marie O’Quinn, Aiden Christopher O’Quinn, Scott Ryan Taylor, Jacob Graham Taylor, Mira Rose O’Quinn, Halina Marie Williams, Gavin Patrick Williams, Carson Lee Cain, Ila Kate Cain and Caroline Tyler Cain.

Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 at Newcomer Cremations, Funerals & Receptions (235 Juneau Drive, Louisville, KY) with a celebration of Sarah’s life to follow at 1 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be held at Cave Hill Cemetery.

AREA 4 OH-3 Florence Jelsma Fawley Chapter (Sgt. Fawley passed away on Friday, May 6th, 2016)

Sgt Florence Fawley - OH-2

Florence was born in Paterson, NJ. She was a pioneer for girls and women and made an incredible impact in many lives. She attended nursing school and worked for Curtiss-Wright Propellers prior to becoming the first woman from Paterson to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserve and quickly moved up in rank to Sergeant. Florence became the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve recruiting posters model. She later became a NYC Conover Agency model and a Vargas girl. Florence was a leader in promoting women’s health and beauty. While raising her children as an Air Force wife, she was involved in a variety of community service organizations. She later was the office manager for Dr. K.S. Foltz, coached the all girls Buckeye Track Club, and was honored with numerous community service awards including the Westerville Sertoma “Service to Mankind” award. Florence had multiple USA national running records for Women Masters. She ran a marathon at age 61. Florence was inducted into the Ohio Veteran’s Hall of Fame. Most recently, she was honored by the naming of the Women’s Marine Association OH-3 Florence Jelsma Fawley Chapter, for the Columbus and Dayton area.

We honor you, Florence Fawley.

Colonel Julia E Hamblet Director of Women Marines (1953) (passed away on April 17, 2017)



MSgt Catherine B. Murray (passed away on December 20, 2017)

My Post

By Allyson Chiu

The forecast had called for rain, possibly strong thunderstorms to roll through the region. But as 50 or so people gathered at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon to say goodbye to retired Marine Master Sgt. Catherine G. Murray, not a single drop of rain fell.

Some may have called the clearing skies a miracle. But Murray, the first enlisted female Marine to retire from active duty, would have described it using her favorite word: “providential.”

“Everything that would happen, she would say, ‘That’s providential,'” said Mark Adkins, Murray’s caretaker and companion of 22 years. “She believed that God was looking out for her.”

Murray, who lived to be 100 years old, died Dec. 20 at her home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with Adkins by her side. She was a fierce supporter of the Marines until the day she died, Adkins said. Murray served for nearly 20 years after enlisting in 1943.

“I thought it was the best,” Murray said in a February 2015 YouTube video filmed by Adkins. “I still do.”

As the youngest of three children and the only girl, Adkins said, Murray was determined to defy gender norms and “create her own identity.”

Photos from the Arlington Cemetery burial of the first enlisted female Marine to retire from active duty
View Photos People gathered to say goodbye to retired Marine Master Sgt. Catherine G. Murray, who served for nearly 20 years. She died at 100.
She was driving home from church on Dec. 7, 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the attack on Pearl Harbor. Without telling her family, Murray decided then to enlist in the Marines, Adkins said.

In the 2015 video, Murray said she passed both physical and aptitude tests, and “before you knew it,” she was on a train headed for boot camp in New York.

“I didn’t ask my mother, or my brother or my aunt what they thought; I went ahead and did it,” Murray said. “After the die was cast, I called them and I said, ‘Momma, I am now a United States Marine.’ “

Murray was one of 50 women who were retained on active duty after World War II, said Eileen Skahill, Murray’s friend and national chaplain with the Women Marines Association.

Eileen Skahill, national chaplain of the Women Marines Association, places her hand on the casket of retired Marine Master Sgt. Catherine G. Murray. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
During her career, Murray was stationed in 15 duty stations, including London, Hawaii, the District and Quantico, Va., Adkins said. Her tasks ranged from secretarial duties to driving five-ton trucks, he said.

At Quantico, Skahill said Murray was responsible for writing many of the directives and manuals for training female Marines.

Although she was surrounded by men, many of whom were her superiors, Adkins said Murray never stopped championing women’s rights and equality.

In another YouTube video posted in May, Murray recounted listening to two male colonels talking about the Marines’ achievements and giving all the credit to men.

“Finally, I had it up to here in their conversation,” Murray said.

She told them to remember there were 18,000 female Marines, adding that “as a matter of fact, you wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for some woman.”

In the 2016 presidential election, Adkins said, Murray voted for Hillary Clinton, saying it was “high time for a woman to be president.”

Murray was an avid volunteer who made sacrifices to help not only her family but also strangers, Adkins said.

“She felt that was the way you served God, by serving one another and by contributing to the world,” he said.

During Tuesday’s ceremony, Murray was remembered for her unyielding service, most notably her work at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, where she logged more than 48,000 hours as a volunteer.

On her way to the hospital, Adkins said, Murray would pick up people waiting at the bus stop and drive them where they needed to go.

Maria Curran, 60, who took her first steps in Murray’s Florida home, said the retired Marine never turned down any opportunity presented to her.

“If you asked her to do anything, she was like, ‘Let’s go,’ ” said Curran, who traveled from Richmond to attend the service.

Despite a century’s worth of life experiences, Adkins said, Murray’s career in the Marines was the “highlight of her life.” She wanted to be buried at Arlington alongside her fellow Marines and others who served the country instead of with her family because “Marines were her family too,” Adkins said.

Murray had outlived all of her biological family, but on Tuesday both active and retired Marines gathered to say farewell. Adkins wiped tears from his eyes while he watched the woman he had come to regard as his best friend laid to rest in a position of honor and respect.

“We did her proud,” Skahill said. “I am so pleased that we were able to make the presence that we did today.”

While attendees milled about after the service, chatting among themselves or paying their final respects, Adkins continued to care for Murray as he quietly rearranged the roses atop her blue-grey casket after gusts of wind knocked some to the ground.

“The last act of kindness that I can do is to walk through this journey with her until the end,” Adkins said.

As cars departed the cemetery and Murray’s casket was left alone under a tent, the first drops of rain began to fall.


Please click here to view a list of our fallen in the National WMA Website.