Third Annual We Can Do It! Awards Will Honor Elinor Otto, The Oldest Living, Working Rosie the Riveter

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High Tide Quartet

High Tide Quartet

Ninety-three year old Elinor Otto, who is still working as a Spar Mechanic at Boeing, is the oldest living and still working Rosie the Riveter. Otto will be honored along with 12 other women leaders at The Third Annual We Can Do It! Awards luncheon on October 17th. The event, sponsored by the Rosie the Riveter Foundation, honors women who have blazed new trails in their professions and whose achievements serve as inspiration for women of all ages.

“Elinor’s life and work is the continuing story of the thousands of women we now refer to as ‘Rosie the Riveters’. These pioneering women worked on assembly lines rolling out airplanes, tanks, and military machinery to support our troops overseas during World War II. It is so important to remember how far we’ve come, and that the struggle for women to have the opportunity to achieve in any field they choose continues. Women like Elinor have forever changed the way our nation views the role of women in the workplace. All of our honorees are women who have followed their dreams and made them come true,” declared Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, President of the Long Beach Rosie the Riveter Foundation, a nonprofit organization. Rosie the Riveter was the affectionate term taken from the 1940’s song, “Rosie the Riveter” and referred to all women who worked for the home front.

The luncheon will include an inspiring presentation about the individual honorees, entertainment from the High Tide Quartet, and gourmet menu served by Keesal, Young, and Logan’s in-house chefs.

This year’s honorees are:

Public Service – Martha Thuente – Former Chair, North Long Beach Redevelopment Project Area Committee (NORTHPAC), Long Beach Veterans Day Committee Chair.

Education – Mary Thoits – Manager, Long Beach City College Senior Studies, teaches World Affairs, WWII WASP (Women’s Air Force Service Pilots)

International Trade – Doris Topsy-Elvord – First African American Woman to serve on: Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners and Long Beach City Councilwoman (6th District); First Justice of Peach Commission (Archdiocese of Los Angeles), co-founder of the African-American Heritage Society of Long Beach, and serves on various non-profit boards

Healthcare – Lillian Lew – Families in Good Health Director (St. Mary Medical Center), former Indo-Chinese Refugee Employment Project Developer (State of Hawaii), former LULAC Headstart Community Analyst (Long Beach)

Historic Preservation – Kaye Briegel – California State University of Long Beach Oral Histories

Arts and culture — Karen Harper — Oral History Project, Hmong Association of Long Beach, Historical Society of Long Beach (HSLB)

Non-Profit Leadership – Shirlee Jackert – Executive Director, Camp Fire, USA

Corporate Leadership — Connie Turner – Public Affairs Regional Manager, Southern California Edison

Local Business Leadership — Mary Lynn Sophiea – Owner, Baja Sonora Mexican Restaurants

Volunteerism — Mary Alice Braly – Rancho Los Alamitos Trustee, 49ers Foundation Board of Directors, Steel Magnolias

Special Recognition –
Bea Antenore
High Tide Quartet
Elinor Otto – World’s oldest living and still working Rosie the Riveter

The awards will be presented at the law offices of Keesal, Young and Logan, 400 Oceangate, Long Beach.

Proceeds from the luncheon go to The Long Beach Rosie the Riveter Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that works on enhancing the Rosie the Riveter Park and Interpretive Center at Clark Avenue and Conant Street in east Long Beach. The Rosie the Riveter Park and Interpretive Center is the only public setting in the United States to honor the women who worked in the airplane factories in World War II. For more information call 562-570-6932. Read more about The Long Beach Rosie the Riveter Foundation at

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