Scholarship pays tribute to beloved opera singer and World War II volunteer
Loyola press release - September 13, 2013
The late Iona Mae Heuer Aden, a talented singer and former Loyola University New Orleans student, epitomized the “Greatest Generation” by working as a senior administrator at the New Orleans Naval Air Station during World War II. The College of Music and Fine Arts is honoring her legacy with the dedication of the new Iona Mae Heuer Aden First Generation Endowed Scholarship.
Established by Aden’s husband and daughters, the scholarship pays tribute to the late singer by providing young hopefuls with an opportunity to study the vocal arts. At a ceremony in mid-September, the first scholarship was awarded to freshman music education major Halima Jaber of Chalmette, La.
In the early 1940s at age 17, Aden received a scholarship to study voice at Loyola. Unfortunately, her promising singing career was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. Determined to do her part to support the war effort, and in addition to singing at numerous USO events, Aden signed on as a civilian administrator for the local naval air base.
Early during the war, she met Lieutenant Ervin Aden, who was stationed briefly in New Orleans. The couple married on May 22, 1943, soon before he was sent to battle overseas. The lieutenant landed at Utah Beach on D-Day, but was wounded during heroic action and soon returned to the U.S. to start a family with his young wife.
The couple spent nearly 70 years together in New Orleans. During that time, Aden performed with the New Orleans Opera, served as lead soloist for the Gentilly Presbyterian Church and was invited to sing with the New York Metropolitan Opera. She passed away Jan. 12 at the age of 91.