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May B. Garnett

Today's obituaries

Date published: 12/9/2012

May B. Garnett

May Bastian Garnett, 93, of Fredericksburg died on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.

Mrs. Garnett was born on May 15, 1919, in the Grand Duche of Luxembourg to Mathias Bastian and Marie Berg.

Following D-Day May acted as a translator and explainer for the Civil Affairs staff of the Allied forces implementing the evacuation of civilians from war zones. An article by Lee Miller published in Vogue magazine described May as a prime example of what was expected of women in the war years.

May was rooted in the community, knew the languages, dealt tactfully with those under stress, but if necessary could give motivating speeches. She was a born welfare worker, pacifying the angry, budging the stubborn, wiping children's noses and stifling sobs. She was the buffer between the army's commands and the pathetic requests of the displaced.

After the war, she became an interpreter at the U.N. At a party at the Luxembourg Embassy, she encountered Colonel Garnett, her former commander and future husband, who was practicing law in Fredericksburg. They were married in 1950.

Her husband, Alfred Willis Garnett and son James Alfred Garnett predeceased her.

She is survived by her daughter-in-law, Marge Elsarelli of Sutherland; a grandson, Dr. James D. Garnett of Kansas City, Kan.; a granddaughter, Teresa Lynn Garnett of Ashburn; and six great-grandchildren, Ian, Brennan, Dylan, Vaughn, Holden and Griffin.

A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at Crooked Run Baptist Church cemetery, Rapidan.