Betty Kirby Littlepage, 82, served in Women's Army Corps in World War II

May 10, 2004|By Scott Calvert | Scott Calvert,SUN STAFF

Betty Kirby Littlepage, who served in the Women's Army Corps in World War II and later raised six children, died of Alzheimer's disease Thursday at Oak Lodge Senior Home in Pasadena. She was 82.

Mrs. Littlepage would have turned 83 Saturday, and her family usually gathered to mark her birthday and Mother's Day at the same time. Yesterday, the event went ahead as always.

"Family and friends were a high priority for her," said daughter Jenny L. Wilkinson of Columbia.

She was born Betty Kirby in Baltimore and lived most of her life in the area, spending the early years in Ellicott City and Catonsville.

After graduating from Catonsville High School in 1938, she worked as a secretary until volunteering for the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, later renamed the Women's Army Corps.

In 1942, after basic training in Daytona Beach, Fla., she was assigned to headquarters of the 3rd Service Command in Baltimore. While there, she appeared on the cover of This Woman's Army magazine.

She went to officer candidate school in Iowa and last served at Camp Fannin, Texas. She received an honorable discharge in 1946 as a second lieutenant.

Back in Baltimore, she went on a blind date with Arthur D. Littlepage, a decorated war veteran. They hit it off and were married for 51 years until his death in 1999.

While he ran the family furniture store in West Baltimore, she focused on their growing family. Within five years, she had four children to care for. Two more would follow.

The Littlepages enjoyed a busy social life, her daughter said. Mrs. Littlepage belonged to several bridge clubs and grew vegetables. She was an avid reader and traveled around the world with her husband.

Neither spoke much about their World War II experiences. "We never asked them, and they never really talked about it," her daughter said.

Mrs. Littlepage served on the boards at Catonsville United Methodist Church and at Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville, where she and her husband moved in 1993.

Services will be held at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow at Catonsville United Methodist Church, 6 Melvin Ave., Catonsville.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Littlepage is survived by four other daughters, Amy L. Dinan of Washington, Sarah Littlepage of Baltimore, Beth L. Coolahan of Severna Park and Nancy Littlepage of Littleton, N.H.; a son, David K. Littlepage of Severna Park; two brothers, Dan H. Kirby of Claiborne and Robert H. Kirby of Seattle; and 11 grandchildren.

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