Ring the Bell: West Virginia loses another ‘Rosie the Riveter’


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Another sad observation comes this Memorial Day Weekend as the Mountain State loses another one of its few remaining “Rosie the Riveters.”

Verla “Bobbie” Lamb died Wednesday, May 26, at her home in Elkins. She was 98.

Verla “Bobbie” Lamb

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, according to media release.

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. 

YouTube: Video of Rosies then and now

Description from an article by Lawrence Messina, Associated Press, 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.

TODAY show interview with Rosies

As part of the bell ringing and recognition of Rosies, the American Rosies Moment has designating five cities as Model Rosie Cities: 

  • Huntington, W.Va.
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Camden, S.C.
  • Brunswick, Md.
  • Philadelphia, Pa.

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.

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