Graveside Services Held For Betty Fingerhut, 97

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World War II veteran and former Marine Betty Fingerhut, nee Vener, died Sunday, March 15, at her home at Inglemoor Care Center. She was 97 years old.

Mrs. Fingerhut was born in Albany, New York. Shortly after the United States entered World War II, while working as a legal secretary she “accidentally” joined the Marine Corps after a photo of her standing near a recruitment poster was published in a local newspaper. The photo featured a caption which noted, incorrectly, that “Betty Vener was the first girl from Albany to join the Marines.”

The newspaper piece inspired her to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps, and she worked her way through the ranks as a radio and telephone technician at a time when women in the military had limited opportunity.

After being stationed in Washington, Omaha, Camp Lejeune, and San Francisco, Mrs. Fingerhut was discharged as a sergeant and went on to become one of the first women to attend college on the GI Bill. She subsequently attended drama school and enjoyed a post-war career in acting and directing. She was a member of the Screen Actors’ Guild and appeared in numerous movies, television shows, industrial films, radio spots, and off-Broadway productions.

Mrs. Fingerhut spent the last four years of her life at Inglemoor. Predeceased by her husband, Jerome Fingerhut, she is survived by six children and their spouses; 14 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

A private graveside service was held at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery on Wednesday, March 18. A full military funeral for extended family and friends will take place at a later date.

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