“Rosie the Riveter” Phyllis Gould dies at 99

One of the six original “Rosie the Riveters” died last week after spending her life making sure Americans would never forget the trailblazing women who helped boost the country’s military arsenal during World War II. 

Phyllis Gould died July 20 from complications of a stroke, her family told CBS News. 

She worked at a California shipyard for $0.90 an hour.

“We had equal pay with the men. I was married, a young marriage, and he was a welder and I became a welder and was making the same money he did,” she said during a White House visit in 2014. 

She was one of around five million civilian women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II, which freed men to go fight in the war. 

Gould helped establish a museum and make March 21 “National Rosie the Riveter Day.” She wrote hundreds of handwritten letters lobbying for a Congressional Gold Medal for the Riveters. Her efforts paid off. At the time of her death, she was working to design the award, which will be given out next year.

She took that tenacious work ethic home with her too. She built a log cabin with a hammer and nails. At age 92, she joined fellow Riveters at the White House, a lifelong dream of hers. 

She logged a life well-lived in her meticulous journals, writing, “I still have places to go and adventures to live.” 

“She wants on her gravestone: ‘Mission Accomplished,'” her sister, Marian Sousa, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I think she did it all.”

Gould was 99-years-old.

Phyllis Gould
Agnes Moore, 95, and Phyllis Gould, 93, from left, who both worked as welders in the Richmond shipyards during WWII, chat as they wait to join with hundreds of women dressed as “Rosie the Riveter” in an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record at Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California, on Saturday, August 15, 2015. San Jose Mercury News via Getty Images