ROSALIE KUNERT "ROSIE THE RIVETER" Age 86 of Burbank, Rosie passed on June 28th. She was born Rosalie Helen Merritt on October 2, 1922 in Hackensack, Minnesota. In late 1942 she relocated to Southern California where she began working at the Lockheed Airplane Factory in Burbank. Like many women during WWII, she took on previously male dominated trades such as riveting teams working on the cockpit shells of airplane bombers. It was here t hat she was approached for an interview to help promote and encourage women to take over vacated jobs for the duration of the war. She was initially singled out for her tall, statuesque appearance and bright auburn hair tied back in her polka-dot head scarf. They asked her to consider appearing in a promotional film about the war effort at home but she modestly declined not wanting to be singled out from the others. Regardless, the name was still officially coined. Another woman in Michigan was chosen and e ventually "Rosie the Riveter" went on to become perhaps the most widely recognized icon of that era. Films, posters and even a song were used to encourage women to go to work in support of the war effort. Rosie was very proud of being a pioneer in proving that women could do the jobs known as "mens work", creating an entirely new image of women in American society and setting the stage for future generations. After the war, Rosie met and married Gerald John Kunert and they remained married for over 55 years before he preceded her to Heaven in 2001. The couple resided in Burbank, raising five children. To supplement their income during the sixties, she worked out of her house as a barber for the neighborhood with clientele reaching over 200 at its height. Most boys attending St. Francis Xavier and Horace Mann Elementary schools in this era will fondly remember the Bazooka bubble gum they received along with their parent's appreciation of the fifty cent haircuts. In 1968 she returned to the work force at M iller Elementary School in the cafeteria and later was the Manager at Washington Elementary. She worked with the Burbank Unified School District for 16 years. Rosie was a very driven and creative individual and nothing seemed insurmountable with her "Can Do" attitude. Whether it was building a room addition to her home, painting on canvas, doing needlepoint, or applying her green thumb to her wonderful garden, no project was too large or too small. Despite her busy lifestyle she always embraced the nee ds of others before her own. She would drop anything she was doing to help those who asked. She was the most caring, trustworthy person in the whole world, never passing judgment on anyone. Rosie's unconditional love and strength will be forever cherished by all. She is survived by four children, Karen Walker, Rodney Kunert, Bob Kunert, Brian Kunert; three grandchildren, Jennifer Kunert, Kevin Kunert, Christopher Kunert; two brothers and one sister. Her eldest son John Kunert preceded her in death in 2 005. A graveside service will be held at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills on Tuesday, July 7, 2009, 11:00 a.m. Supplementary to flowers, donations to the
at alz.org would be greatly appreciated. The family would also like to thank the staff at Belmont Village in Burbank. Their compassion will always be sincerely remembered.
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Published in Los Angeles Daily News from July 3 to July 5, 2009