Marilyn “Bobbi” Roberts Earp was born and raised in rural Galien, Michigan. She graduated from high school in 1940 and entered the Western Michigan Teacher’s College in Kalamazoo, where she lived with sisters who were pilots. After three years of college, she dropped out to take flying lessons and later joined the Civil Air Patrol, while also working in a parachute flare packing factory. Before Earp could get enough solo hours to qualify for the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots), the service ceased taking new recruits.
Instead, Earp joined the WAVES in July 1944 and attended basic training at Hunter College in New York. After completing air traffic control training in Atlanta, Earp was stationed at the naval air base in Glenview, Illinois. She worked as an air traffic controller there until her discharge in 1946, and married fellow air traffic controller Roger Earp in September 1945. Earp returned to service in operations at Glenview about a year later, but was permanently discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1949 when she became pregnant.
Earp went back to school in the early 1960s, finishing her degree in education at Pembroke. When Roger Earp passed away in 1964, she began a career in teaching in Tabor City, North Carolina.