June 19, 2017 / 2:08 AM / 2 years ago

Venus Ramey, war bond-selling, gun-toting Miss America of 1944, dies at 92

(Reuters) - Venus Ramey, who used her victory as Miss America in 1944 to sell war bonds and make appearances on the vaudeville stage, has died at the age of 92, a funeral home in her native Kentucky said on Sunday.

Ramey, at age 82 in 2007, thwarted an attempt to steal equipment at her Kentucky farm by balancing with a walking stick and shooting out the tires of the suspects’ vehicle, local news reports at the time said.

After the incident, she appeared on national TV programs including “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” where she quipped that she liked to start things with a bang.

Ramey left Kentucky for the U.S. capital in the 1940s to help with the war effort during World War Two and represented the District of Columbia when she was crowned Miss America. During her tenure, she worked with members of Congress to help enact women’s rights legislation, the Miss America organization said.

“In addition to a citation from the United States Treasury Department for her work in the War Bond effort, Venus Ramey’s picture was painted on the side of fighter planes,” the organization said on its website.

Ramey died on Saturday, the Morris and Hisplope Funeral Home said.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Will Dunham

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