Experiences On the Home Front
Explore the stories of the people who were part of the WWII home front. Learn more about their daily lives and the impacts that were made on the city of Richmond, California and the country at large. Most Bio's have an expanded page of information. You can access these pages by clicking on any main Bio name that has a live link.
Note: We have LOTS more Rosies and Home Front worker bios to come. Please check back often.
Betty Soskin (Betty Charbonnet) grew up in a Cajun-Creole, African American family that settled in Oakland, California after the “Great Flood” that devastated New Orleans in 1927. Her parents joined her maternal grandfather, George Allen, who had resettled in Oakland at the end of World War I. The Allen family followed the pattern set by the black railroad workers who discovered the West Coast while serving as sleeping car porters, waiters, and chefs for the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe railroads: they settled at the western end of their run where life might be less impacted by southern hostility.
Marian McKey Sousa was born January 6th, 1926 in Eugene Oregon – the daughter of Sgt. L.H. and Mildred McKey. In 1940, her father, a career serviceman who was a WW I Vet, was transferred to the Astoria, Oregon area at Fort Stevens so the family moved to the coastal town of Seaside. Marian was 15 that December 8th when she sat in her High School’s auditorium to hear the speech by President Roosevelt, declaring that the U.S. was now at war with Japan because of the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Richmond Kaiser Shipyard #3 Pipe Welder 1944-1945
Moore's Shipyard, Oakland - Journeyman Welder, 1942-1945
In Loving Memory of...
As expected of girls during that time Agnes had married at 16 and had a 1 year old daughter when she and her soon-to-be ex came out to California in 1939, following her siblings to Salinas. She was able to find work in the vegetable packing industry. The young couple eventually divorced and Agnes now had to support herself and her child.
Richmond Kaiser Shipyard #2 - Journeyman Welder, 1943-1945
Catherine Stavros Morrison (Kay) was born in Chico, CA., on November 22, 1923. Kay and her husband Ray married when she was a junior in high school. Catherine’s older brother was in the Army, serving in the African campaign chasing Rommel and her husband was eager to join the service too but the military classified him as “4F”- unable to serve due to health reasons. After her graduation in 1941 they moved to the Bay Area to search for work in the war effort, finding an apartment on Haight and Fillmore in San Francisco and Ray was able to find work right away in Kaiser Shipyard #2 as a Shipwright (carpenter).
Richmond Kiaser shipyard 3# - Electrician, 1943-1945
Priscilla Elder was born in Iowa on March 23, 1920, the 3rd out of 11 kids. Priscilla’s brother Tony was a gunnar’s mate on the USS Dewey that arrived at Pearl Harbor to tend to the injured survivors after the Japanese attack. Her husband Donald was drafted shortly thereafter and served in Europe under General Patton in the 3rd Army. (Another brother Fred was in the Army Medical Corps.)
In Loving Memory of...
Last updated: May 3, 2023