The National WWII Museum offers a final salute to Bert Stolier, who died Monday, June 13, 2016. He was 97, and the longest-serving WWII-veteran volunteer at the Museum.
When The National D-Day Museum opened on June 6, 2000, Stolier joined a group of WWII veterans known as the “A-Team”—a band of seven WWII-veteran volunteers who enthusiastically helped staff our budding Speakers Bureau and volunteered daily at the Museum, sharing with visitors their firsthand experiences of World War II.
“Bert’s imprint on this museum will never be forgotten,” said Museum president and CEO Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, PhD. “He displayed a great spirit and added meaning to the visits of our guests from around the world. He was a man with a big heart and great passion for our nation and this museum. We will all miss him terribly.”
A New Orleans native, Stolier enlisted in the US Marine Corps on February 7, 1940, reporting to boot camp in San Diego. During World War II, he served on the USS Northampton (CA-26) and survived its sinking off of Guadalcanal. He went on to serve aboard the USS Atlanta (CL-104), which was off of Honshu when Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945. Stolier returned to New Orleans after the war and worked as a clothing salesman, then as proprietor with his wife Marian of a string of Swensen’s ice-cream parlors.
In 2000, Stolier began his volunteer service at The National D-Day Museum, and for the last 16 years of his life served the institution that became known as The National WWII Museum. He was a recipient of the Museum’s Silver Service Medallion in 2015 in recognition of his patriotic service during the war years and in retirement. He has also been honored with a dedicated seat in the Solomon Victory Theater and a commemorative brick in the Campaigns of Courage pavilion. And of course, he lives on in the hearts and memories of the many staff members and visitors whose lives he touched.
Semper fidelis, Bert.