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Leola Morris Mernit

March 22, 2003

Leola Morris Mernit, 89

Troy Leola Morris Mernit, 89, of Troy, died Saturday, March 22, 2003, at the Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center after a long illness.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, she was daughter of the late Robert and Theresa Perrin Morris. Following graduation from Girls High School, she worked as a private secretary for the Crown Can Co. before joining the Women's Army Corps (WAC) in World War II.

During her armed services career, she obtained the rank of Lieutenant and distinguished herself in 1943 by becoming the first woman Army officer at Rome (NY) Army Air Field.

A newspaper account at the time said that she "successfully overcame whatever prejudices existed at the time against female officers in uniform and, because of her success, she paved the way for the hundreds of other WAC officers and enlisted women who have followed her."

A resident of Flushing, NY, for over 40 years, she was the wife of the late Benjamin Memit of New York City. Mrs. Memit is survived by her daughter, Arlene Mernit Sampson (Mrs. David) of Troy, and two grandsons, Christopher Sampson of Charlottesville, Va., and James Sampson of New York City. She was predeceased by one sister, Janet Morris Fearon, and two brothers, Perrin and Robert J. Morris.

A memorial service is planned for a later date. Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to: Northeast Health Foundation, Burdett Avenue, Troy, N.Y. 12180.

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