2022 : Former Miss Michigan/Miss America Dies

July 12, 2022 all-day

Pamela Eldred-Robbins died July 12 at age 74 in Oakland County.

When legendary announcer Bert Parks crooned the iconic “There She is, Miss America” in September 1969, he sang it for a blonde, green-eyed ballet dancer and auto-show model from Detroit Immaculata High School and Mercy College.

Pamela Anne Eldred, who grew up in northwest Detroit and West Bloomfield, was crowned and draped in a velvet cloak as Miss America 1970. The 21-year-old was the third Miss Michigan to win the title since the pageant’s creation in 1921.

Her reign as Miss America came during a turbulent period, as movements raged for civil rights, women’s liberation and opposition to the Vietnam War. Even as Eldred was crowned the paragon of womanly virtue, grassroots social and economic shifts were upending the notion of the feminine ideal.

During her reign, Eldred-Robbins twice visited U.S. troops in Vietnam on USO tours and was awarded citations for courage when enemy fire disrupted a show. She did breakthrough advocacy for people with developmental disabilities, in recognition of a younger sister’s lifelong struggle.

“When I was chosen as Miss America 1970 and crowned, it was very humbling,” she wrote in a 2021 Newsweek essay for the pageant’s 100th anniversary. “Afterwards, I was in a different place every day. I traveled more than 200,000 miles in one year, because it’s a job. If you were sick, you still got up and went out with a smile on your face.”

Source : Patricia Montemurri, “Free Press Flashback: The late Pam Eldred sparkled as Miss America in a tempestuous era“, Detroit Free Press, December 11, 2022.