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Rose Gorga, WWII Veteran

Tampa Bay Times

Rose Gorga, WWII Veteran

At age 108, Rose Gorga was considered the oldest female American veteran of World War II.

Rose Gorga

Rose Gorga at 107 (Tampa Bay Times)

Her obituary, which ran in The Record (NorthJersey.com) in March 2011, is loaded with the kind of details you don’t always find in obituaries for unmarried women who lived more than a century. Too often, surviving relatives remember these women only from their final years and forget about the vibrant lives they lived before that.

Staff writer Jay Levin wrote that this daughter of Italian immigrants spent part of her youth in an orphanage after her mother’s death.

Gorga, who worked as a secretary for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., before and after the war, enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps when she was in her early 40s. She served as a medical assistant involved in the care of returning military people.

Levin interviewed Gorga’s niece, who revealed her aunt’s skill at folding laundry, her confidence in working crossword puzzles in ink and her presumed cause of death. She “just passed away, I guess, from being tired and old,” the niece said. “She had all her faculties. She just enjoyed life.”

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This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She was the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers before she passed away in 2015.