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Gertrude Marcia (Wenzel) Milner

She was a beautiful woman with chestnut hair, a rich, warm smile, and deep blue eyes that displayed brilliance of mind, tenacity and courage. She would conquer and live her dreams. She would climb into the heavens without fear. She would fly.

Beginning at the early age of 15, she would fly not just small planes, but also many large World War II bombers, including the B-26, B-29 and B-17 Flying Fortress. She was born and lived as a gifted, independent, extraordinary bird - a WASP (Women's Air Service Pilots). In recognition of her service during WWII, she was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.

On July 26, 2012, Gertrude Marcia Wenzel Milner, 91, took her last flight home to Our Father. Born in 1920 in New London, Conn., she lived for over 47 years in Weekapaug, R.I. Recently, she was a resident of Essex, Conn. Prior to Weekapaug, Marcia lived in Bedford, N.Y., and Ocean Reef, Key Largo, Fla., for several years.

Marcia was married to Philip H. Milner Sr. for over 40 years prior to his passing in 1990. She was beloved by her family and is survived by her son, Philip H. Milner Jr., married to Pamela Milner, of Newport Beach, Calif.; her granddaughter, Jessica Milner, of Newport Beach, Calif.; her grandson, John Milner, married to Kristin Milner; her great-granddaughters, Amanda and Clara Milner, of Corona, Calif.; as well as her brother, Clarence "Bill" Wenzel, of Huddleston, Va.

Memorial services will be held Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. at Christ Church, Westerly. Interment in the adjacent Memorial Garden will follow. Memorial donations may be made in her honor to Wings Across America, 1620 S. 9th St., Waco, Texas, 76706 (www. of honor) or the National WASP WWII Museum, P.O. Box 456, Sweetwater, Texas, 79556 (www.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Bucker-Johnston Funeral Home, 121 Main St., Westerly, R.I.

.Published in The Westerly Sun from August 1 to August 2, 2012