LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — She’s 101 going on 102, and Elinor Otto isn’t sitting still for her next birthday bash.
The last celebration was quiet in the midst of the pandemic, but for the woman known as the longest-working “Rosie the Riveter,” pandemics aren’t a once-in-a-lifetime event. She was born the same year the Spanish Flu struck.
And this year, she’s headed back to Long Beach, California, where they’re planning her party for Oct. 29, a Friday. Her birthday is a day ahead of that, on Oct. 28.
Her grand niece, Brenda Wynne, is working out the details and she says they’re hoping for 250 people at the celebration. She’s getting help from the owners of a Long Beach bar named for Otto. It’s called Elinor Drinkery, and it’s currently closed for on-site service.
And after the party, Otto is off to Washington, D.C., to attend a Nov. 5-6 event that honors veterans and has celebrated her contributions in the past. The American Veterans Center event will be hosted again this year by Rob Riggle.
Long Beach is home for Otto, who worked on C-17 aircraft as she built a career out of a WWII wartime job.
“Work never hurt anybody,” Otto told us in March.
She now lives in North Las Vegas with Wynne.
Wynne says the public is welcome to the Long Beach event on Oct. 29 at Bixby Knolls Art Expo Center, 4321 Atlantic Avenue. WWII memorabilia including a Jeep and posters will be on display at the party.
Plans for a silent auction at the Washington, D.C., event are still coming together. An R-Riveter “Otto” bag is part of the auction.
“Rosie the Riveter” is a phenomenon that grew from a motivational poster that was only up briefly at a Westinghouse factory during World War II. Women who joined the workforce in droves as men went off to fight the war became the first generation of “Rosie the Riveters.”
Otto is energetic and still “healthy as a horse,” according to Wynne.
She likes to say to other women who hear the “Rosie the Riveter” legacy: “My final word to them … We made history, now it’s your turn.”