PRISCILLA ELDER MARCH 20, 1920 - JANUARY 07, 2018 January 9, 2018 18:36 1 Comment

God Bless you, Priscilla.  You were my first contact at the Visitor Center and you introduced me to Marian Wynn, Marian Sousa,  Kay Morrison and Mary Torres.  All of you were such an inspiration that I was compelled to tell your stories in the documentary "THE RICHMOND ROSIES". Over that two and one-half year experience I got to see you as the beautiful, strong woman you were and I will never forget you. And I will always be grateful to have known you. God speed, Priscilla.  All my love, Ken

PRISCILLA ELDER

Tammy Brumley writes: 

"It is with great sadness to let you know that our “Rosie” Priscilla Elder passed away last night at the age of 97.   

Although we knew her transition was coming, it doesn’t make it any easier nor any less sad.  Priscilla was a fighter— fighting her weakening heart and yet still living longer then the hospice nurses predicted.

 

She was born in Iowa on March 23, 1920, the 3rd out of 11 children, to Italian immigrant parents.  WW2 resounded quickly within her family as Priscilla’s brother Tony was a gunner’s mate on the USS Dewey, a ship that went to Pearl Harbor to tend to the injured survivors after the December 7th attack. Her husband Donald was drafted shortly thereafter and served in Europe under General Patton’s Third Army, while her other brother Fred was in the Army Medical Corps.

 

With her husband off to war, Priscilla had to care for their young son, Charles, so she and her twin sister Angie decided to attend training to become riveters. It was during this time that their older sister Carmela was working as an electrician in the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond, CA. Carmela notified them of an urgent need for workers in the shipyards.

 

At the age of 22, Priscilla moved from Iowa to Richmond with her 2 year-old son. Her twin sister would soon follow and both would get jobs as electricians; wiring circuit-boxes that were installed on troop transports built in Shipyard #3. Priscilla would also be called upon to work in the tool bin— checking tools out to the workers and grinding the beads off that collected on the welders’ stingers.

 

With wartime housing springing up all around Richmond, Carmela was able to secure an apartment for Priscilla right above her own.  Their building was located at 1401 Virginia Ave and 14th St.  

Needing childcare for her son while she worked her daytime shift, Priscilla was able to place Charles in the Wartime childcare system established for Home Front workers. 

 

When her older sister moved away, Priscilla decided to move to San Francisco to live with relatives. To get to the shipyards she would commute by ferry, walking an hour from her apartment on 1058 Fell St to the Ferry building. Occasionally, after a long day of work, she would treat herself to a trolley ride home when she arrived back in San Francisco. (She didn’t want to walk up that hill!)

On the weekends, Priscilla and her son would enjoy spending time at Golden Gate Park as their apartment was just down the street.

 

Priscilla often recalled that Kaiser employees would be entertained during their lunch hour, by anyone from fellow Kaiser employees to the stars of the day, such as Bing Crosby, the Andrew Sisters and many more.

 

Priscilla finished out the war years at the shipyard before returning to Iowa to await her husband’s discharge from the Army. She had fallen in love with California and by 1955 had convinced her husband to move to California permanently.  

She worked off and on at odd jobs throughout the years before deciding to become her own boss, obtaining her G.E.D. and her Cosmetology license at the age of 40.  After her retirement, she developed a love of china painting, decorating many plates and even brooches with beautiful floral designs. You were very lucky if you were gifted one of these beauties by her!

Don and Priscilla were married for 71 years before Don passed away in 2011.

A very special acknowledgement goes out to her son Charles, who she was so proud of and loved so much.  Although he lives in Arizona, he has always been there for his Mom; between visiting for months at a time, bringing her out to Arizona for her annual visits, and employing his lifelong friend Mary to watch over Priscilla in his absence.  Charles knew the frailty of her health and came to live with her in the home she’s loved since 1965. He was by her side right until the very end.

 

Priscilla served her country as a Rosie during the war years and most recently as a docent at the Rosie the Riveter WW2 Home Front N.H.P. by sharing her wartime memories.  Her absence from the Visitor Center and Rosie events will be deeply felt. She and the other Park Rosies have been thick as thieves for several years now and they will miss her terribly.  

 

Per Priscilla’s wishes there will be no memorial service. She will be cremated and laid to rest with her husband Donald at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon, CA.  

 

Charles is a private man and will need to grieve the loss of his mother in his own way and therefore has requested no cards.  He sends his deepest thanks to everyone for the love and support being sent his way, but especially for the love and support you all gave to Priscilla, our Rosie.  🌹💪🏼

 

It is with great sadness to let you know that our “Rosie” Priscilla Elder passed away last night at the age of 97.   

Although we knew her transition was coming, it doesn’t make it any easier nor any less sad.  Priscilla was a fighter— fighting her weakening heart and yet still living longer then the hospice nurses predicted.

 

She was born in Iowa on March 23, 1920, the 3rd out of 11 children, to Italian immigrant parents.  WW2 resounded quickly within her family as Priscilla’s brother Tony was a gunner’s mate on the USS Dewey, a ship that went to Pearl Harbor to tend to the injured survivors after the December 7th attack. Her husband Donald was drafted shortly thereafter and served in Europe under General Patton’s Third Army, while her other brother Fred was in the Army Medical Corps.

 

With her husband off to war, Priscilla had to care for their young son, Charles, so she and her twin sister Angie decided to attend training to become riveters. It was during this time that their older sister Carmela was working as an electrician in the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond, CA. Carmela notified them of an urgent need for workers in the shipyards.

 

At the age of 22, Priscilla moved from Iowa to Richmond with her 2 year-old son. Her twin sister would soon follow and both would get jobs as electricians; wiring circuit-boxes that were installed on troop transports built in Shipyard #3. Priscilla would also be called upon to work in the tool bin— checking tools out to the workers and grinding the beads off that collected on the welders’ stingers.

 

With wartime housing springing up all around Richmond, Carmela was able to secure an apartment for Priscilla right above her own.  Their building was located at 1401 Virginia Ave and 14th St.  

Needing childcare for her son while she worked her daytime shift, Priscilla was able to place Charles in the Wartime childcare system established for Home Front workers. 

 

When her older sister moved away, Priscilla decided to move to San Francisco to live with relatives. To get to the shipyards she would commute by ferry, walking an hour from her apartment on 1058 Fell St to the Ferry building. Occasionally, after a long day of work, she would treat herself to a trolley ride home when she arrived back in San Francisco. (She didn’t want to walk up that hill!)

On the weekends, Priscilla and her son would enjoy spending time at Golden Gate Park as their apartment was just down the street.

 

Priscilla often recalled that Kaiser employees would be entertained during their lunch hour, by anyone from fellow Kaiser employees to the stars of the day, such as Bing Crosby, the Andrew Sisters and many more.

 

Priscilla finished out the war years at the shipyard before returning to Iowa to await her husband’s discharge from the Army. She had fallen in love with California and by 1955 had convinced her husband to move to California permanently.  

She worked off and on at odd jobs throughout the years before deciding to become her own boss, obtaining her G.E.D. and her Cosmetology license at the age of 40.  After her retirement, she developed a love of china painting, decorating many plates and even brooches with beautiful floral designs. You were very lucky if you were gifted one of these beauties by her!

Don and Priscilla were married for 71 years before Don passed away in 2011.

A very special acknowledgement goes out to her son Charles, who she was so proud of and loved so much.  Although he lives in Arizona, he has always been there for his Mom; between visiting for months at a time, bringing her out to Arizona for her annual visits, and employing his lifelong friend Mary to watch over Priscilla in his absence.  Charles knew the frailty of her health and came to live with her in the home she’s loved since 1965. He was by her side right until the very end.

 

Priscilla served her country as a Rosie during the war years and most recently as a docent at the Rosie the Riveter WW2 Home Front N.H.P. by sharing her wartime memories.  Her absence from the Visitor Center and Rosie events will be deeply felt. She and the other Park Rosies have been thick as thieves for several years now and they will miss her terribly.  

 

Per Priscilla’s wishes there will be no memorial service. She will be cremated and laid to rest with her husband Donald at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon, CA.  

 

Charles is a private man and will need to grieve the loss of his mother in his own way and therefore has requested no cards.  He sends his deepest thanks to everyone for the love and support being sent his way, but especially for the love and support you all gave to Priscilla, our Rosie.  🌹💪🏼"

THE WHITE HOUSE