Marion Elizabeth O’Neal was working as a medical assistant in a South Florida hospital when she married Dr. A.J. Bertram. Her husband was also a pilot and he shared his love of aviation with her.
Bertram took flying lessons and became one of the first members of the Ninety-Nines, Amelia Earhart’s female flying club. During World War II, she enlisted in the Army Air Corps, flying cargo shipments and giving flight lessons to male pilots. At the time, women were not allowed to serve in battle.
Dr. Bertram also served in the war. When he returned home, the couple spent their remaining years together in the Florida Keys. He died in 1944.
Marion Bertram moved to Turkey in the 1960s. She befriended a Turkish dance teacher and became an expert ballroom dancer. She also did administrative work for the U.S. Air Force, a job that brought her many awards, including the Sustained Superior Performance Award.
Bertram died of pneumonia on March 4. She was 99.