Marilyn Gries slips the surly bonds. 1922-2021.

Marilyn Gries died last week.

New BFF friends. Marilyn Gries & Gaye Lyn in 2015
I cannot apologize for the oxymoron of this smiling photo. There are no photos of Marilyn without a smile. Not in my collection. And, if I’m with her, guaranteed I’m smiling, too. (This is a 2015 selfie.)

The cherished widow of Robert Gries. The treasured Veterans Air storyteller who personally lived part of our 1945 history. And my much-loved friend, Marilyn Gries, has left us.

We giggled a lot…in person and over the phone.

Marilyn loved to tell me stories about when she’d accompany Bob on weekends to the Veterans Air hangar. Although he occasionally navigated for the passenger/cargo air service he helped my Dad found, Bob’s management skills were of greater need and benefit to the company. So, while he worked in the office, Marilyn greeted passengers and helped seat them for the DC-3 snowbird flights to Miami.

Handsome, serious-looking young Army Air Corps enlistee in 1942, Robert Gries, Marilyn's husband.
Robert F. Gries Photo Credit: Archives of Mighty Eighth Museum.

She had a tremendous memory and quick wit. And made my Dad’s adventure come alive with details she learned from Bob and those she created on her own!

Marilyn’s Bob was Robert F. Gries, who, as an Army Air Corps Lead Navigator, flew 33 missions during World War II from a base in England with his 392nd Bomb Group in the bomber named Pregnant Peg.

During our last visit in 2019, Marilyn honored me with an incredible gift…an original “birthday” telegram that Bob sent her after he navigated one of those bombing raids. He sent many such telegrams. Not because it was her November birthday. But because the telegrams were his signal, his way of letting her know he was safe. Letters were way too slow and untrustworthy for his worried bride in the States.

Marilyn bragged to her friends and the staff at her senior living community that Gaye has driven her RV, all by herself, all the way from Santa Fe to Boynton Beach to visit me! (Marilyn, in fact, was a huge impetus in my decision to buy Gracie so I could visit more easily.)

Veterans Air family’s loss…

At 98 years young, Marilyn Gries died last Monday, 19 April 2021.

The Veterans Air family has lost a cherished member and valued historian. I have lost a precious, precious friend whom I’ll love and remember always.

Vivacious. Spunky. Gracious. Forthright. Fiercely independent. Glowing Spirit.

I thought if I read a few of her stories, it would lift my spirits. It has. But it has also made me cry. Again. They compile so many descriptions of the Marilyn I miss and why thinking of her also makes me smile. Vivacious. Spunky. Gracious. Forthright. The very definition of independent.

Dear Reader, come enjoy some exceptional memories I am honored to share. [Click on the first two photos for full stories. Read the caption for 2019.]

How Marilyn and I “met” telephonically on 7/11/2015

High school sweethearts. Marilyn and Robert Gries.
Marilyn & Bob. They were High School sweethearts – forever. She gave me this photo. (No date.)

Our first-ever meet & greet was 8/9/2015. Then in July 2017 we met again.

A Florida hug and fun conversations between Marilyn Gries and Gaye Lyn.
In summer 2017, Marilyn treated me to my first-ever brisket slider at her favorite deli. Great food and even better company. You can’t beat that combination!

Our third visit was my 2019 sleepover on Marilyn’s couch! BFF!

Marilyn Gries, treasured 1945 Veterans Air historian - because she was there - and airline founder's daughter, Gaye Lyn, during a June 2019 visit.
Enjoying our time together and our ricochet conversations so much, this is the only photo I managed to take in 48 hours! The rest I hold captive deep in my heart. It was 6/29/2019, our last face-to-face visit.


2 thoughts on “Marilyn Gries slips the surly bonds. 1922-2021.”

  1. I am very sorry to hear of Marilyn’s passing. Thank you, Gaye, for “finding” Marilyn; I’m sure it meant a lot to her to be reunited with Veterans Air. And thank you for sharing her stories with us.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.