Obituary of Elinor Marie Otto
Elinor Otto, one of the original Rosie the Riveters, passed away on November 12, 2023, at a Las Vegas hospital after suffering a stroke. She was 104 years old.
Born in 1919, Elinor Otto was a 22-year-old recently divorced mother when the attack on Pearl Harbor changed American life. She learned how to use a rivet gun and became one of the original Rosie the Riveters, working at the Rohr Aircraft Corporation. Otto built airplanes throughout the war, but when it ended in 1945, the airplane work for women also came to an end as men returned from overseas.
She found her way back to riveting in 1951 at Ryan Aeronautical, where the skills she developed during the war were still in demand. She continued working to build airplanes, later at McDonnell Douglas/Boeing, for most of her life, most recently building C-17s. In fact, Otto was still working at age 95, when she was laid off as production of the C-17 ceased.
In 2017, the same year of her layoff, Otto had her first chance to ride in a C-171. She said it was thrilling, and she was excited that many of the crew members were women. That same year, she was honored with the Lillian L. Keil Award from the American Veterans Center and named Woman of the Year in her California State Assembly district.
Elinor Otto’s legacy is a testament to her resilience and dedication. Her contributions to the aviation industry and the role she played in World War II as a Rosie the Riveter will continue to inspire generations to come. She will be deeply missed.To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Elinor Otto, please visit our Tree Store