ATLANTIC CITY — Miss America 1944 Venus Ramey, who helped bolster support for the troops during World War II and later became a political activist, died Saturday at age 92.
The Miss America Organization announced the news Monday, saying it was honoring the memory of one of its own.
Born in Ashland, Kentucky, Ramey moved Washington, D.C., in the 1940s to work for the war effort. She competed as Miss District of Columbia in the 1944 Miss America pageant.
During her reign, Ramey helped the U.S. Treasury Department by selling war bonds and was an entertainer for the troops at military service camps.
The 15th Air Force 301st Bombardment Group named its fleet for Ramey and her picture, with her trademark red hair, was painted on the fighter planes. The planes made 68 raids over war-torn Germany and never lost a man, helping to raise morale in the U.S., the Miss America Organization said.
As Miss America, Ramey worked with members of Congress to enact women’s rights legislation. Her political aspirations continued throughout her life, as she later ran for the Kentucky House of Representatives and Cincinnati City Council.
“Venus leaves behind a lasting legacy. Her memory will live on in the hearts of everyone in the Miss America family and all who had the pleasure of knowing her,” the Miss America Organization said in a statement.