News Release Date: March 31, 2022
WASHINGTON – Betty Reid Soskin, the National Park Service’s (NPS) oldest active ranger, retired today after a decade and a half of sharing her personal experiences and the efforts of women from diverse backgrounds who worked on the World War II Home Front.
Soskin, who celebrated her 100th birthday in September 2021, spent her last day providing an interpretive program to the public and visiting with coworkers at Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park.
“To be a part of helping to mark the place where that dramatic trajectory of my own life, combined with others of my generation, will influence the future by the footprints we've left behind has been incredible,” said Betty Reid Soskin.
In 2011, Betty became a permanent NPS employee and has been leading public programs and sharing her personal remembrances and observations at the park visitor center.
“Betty has made a profound impact on the National Park Service and the way we carry out our mission,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams. “I am grateful for her lifelong dedication to sharing her story and wish her all the best in retirement. Her efforts remind us that we must seek out and give space for all perspectives so that we can tell a more full and inclusive history of our nation. Congratulations, Betty!”
Before joining the NPS, Soskin participated in scoping meetings with the City of Richmond and the NPS to develop the general management plan for Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park. She worked with the NPS on a grant funded by PG&E to uncover untold stories of African Americans on the Home Front during WWII, which led to a temporary position working with the NPS at the age of 84.
"Being a primary source in the sharing of that history – my history – and giving shape to a new national park has been exciting and fulfilling,” said Soskin. “It has proven to bring meaning to my final years.”
“The National Park Service is grateful to Ranger Betty for sharing her thoughts and first-person accounts in ways that span across generations,” said Naomi Torres, acting superintendent of Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park. “She has used stories of her life on the Home Front, drawing meaning from those experiences in ways that make that history truly impactful for those of us living today.”
Soskin’s interpretive programs at Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park have illuminated the histories of African Americans and other people of color, and her efforts demonstrate how her work has impacted the way the NPS conveys such history to audiences across the United States. Learn more about Betty’s story and watch one of her recorded programs.
Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park will celebrate Betty’s retirement on Saturday, April 16 in Richmond, California. Details of the event can be found on the park’s website.
Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, located in the wartime boomtown of Richmond, Calif., preserves and interprets the wide array of stories, places and legacies of our nation’s home front response to World War II. Learn more at www.nps.gov/RORI.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Last updated: March 31, 2022