News & Stories

Marian Prevents WWII Raid on New York


In 1943, Marian was working in the original L.S. Ayres Tea Room when she met an Army recruiter having lunch. As a result, Marian decided to enlist in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). She served in military intelligence, first at the Pentagon and then in New Jersey, intercepting German radio transmissions.

If Marian hadn’t heard one set of signals from a German U-boat in New York Harbor, the course of World War II may have included an East Coast raid. She reported the signals, which triggered the Navy to dispatch its own defense into the harbor and caused the Germans to retreat.

She downplays that historical moment. “She always told us, she was just doing her job,” says Marian’s son, Steve.

After her honorable discharge, Marian returned to Beech Grove where she worked for a credit union and as an Avon lady. But the war effort was never far from her mind. Four decades after serving her country, at age 73, Marian organized the first Indiana WAC Veterans Association to serve those in need at the nearby VA hospital.

As Marian’s own health declined, Steve and his wife Betty moved her into their home. The family monitors her medication and helps Marian with transportation, finances and daily activities. She receives two meals a day from Meals & More and attendant care for bathing, dressing and daily care.

Amy, who has cared for Marian for seven years, says she is more than just a client. “I lost my grandma right before I started working with Marian. She is just like a second grandmother to me.”