Real-Life 'Rosie the Riveter' Naomi Parker Fraley Dies at 96

The real-life Rosie the Riveter has died at age 96.
Naomi Parker Fraley died Saturday. Stock

The woman who inspired World War II's "Rosie the Riveter" has died at the age of 96, according to her family.

Naomi Parker Fraley passed away Saturday at a nursing home in Washington.

"Goodbye, grandma. I'll be sure to share your quarks (sic) and funny little stories where I can. You showed my whole family what it really meant to give to others and for that we thank and love you! RIP!" wrote grandson Daniel Blankenship on his Facebook page.

Fraley was 20 when she and her sister, Ada, went to work in a machine shop at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California. 

The women joined scores across the country who took over military jobs usually held by men during World War II. They toiled in factories as welders, builders of planes and assemblers of war vehicles. 

Fraley's face adorned the "We Can Do It!" poster. She wore a red-and-white polka dot bandana and flexed an arm muscle.

She was captured in 1942 by a photographer touring her work site and later, caught the eye of J. Howard Miller, who used the image for his "Rosie the Riveter" art work. 

But for decades, the woman was identified as Geraldine Hoff Doyle, a Michigan factory worker who thought the woman in the iconic poster looked a lot like herself. 

Naomi attended a "Rosie the Riveter" reunion in 2009 and saw her photo displayed as the inspiration for the WWII poster, but with someone else's name in the caption.

She tried to rectify the mistake, but ran into a lot of red tape. "I didn't want fame or fortune, but I did want my owne identity," she told People magazine at the time.

Later, she met James Kimble, a communications professor at Seton Hall University. He took up her cause and published a 2016 article in the journal Rhetoric and Public Affairs proclaiming her the true Rosie.

Funeral arrangements are pending. 

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