Honolulu Chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association
Mom wanted to go to a convention, for which I have regrets of not taking her. I was working, it would mean spending my time and treasure to go to New Orleans in June!! You might imagine why I was reluctant. Hind sight is 20/20. This was I think in 2017 or 2018…
After mom passed away (2019), I sent a message to ARRA and they sent a message back: sorry for your loss, would you consider starting a chapter in Hawaii—we don’t have one there yet!
I said I’d think about it and while I was thinking my name ended up on their web as State Director. Raya Kenney found my name and sent an email asking me if I’d be willing to write to Mazie Hirano, Hawaii State Senator— because Mazie is on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; subcommittee is Public Lands, Forests and Mining. Raya has been working on getting a Bill passed in the Senate for a monument to the Women on the Home Front since she was in the 5th grade (for 9 years). As requested, I wrote to Mazie and in doing so, I realized that if this 5th grader had the fortitude to chase after public lands for a monument to the Rosies, I could start a Chapter.
Please read and enjoy Cathy's story, captured in her own words:
My name is Cathy Terrell. I was born Catherine Elizabeth Hoffman on April 20, 1917 in Granville, Iowa. My father Eugene, moved to Iowa from Luxembourg where he was a butcher. In Iowa, he became a farmer and met and my mother, Elizabeth Boever.
In 1930, the depression had hit real hard. My father bought a beautiful home and farm in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. By that time, there were eight children and my dad put us all on the train for the trip to our new home in Sleepy Eye. I was only eight years old at the time, and the younger children were all crying as they didn’t want to leave, but I was thrilled at the thought of riding on that train!
My father raised oats, corn and wheat along with dairy cows, hogs and chickens. We had a huge garden and an orchard with apples and plums. We had plenty of food during the depression and so we never really felt the effects of the depression.
We all went to school at St. Mary’s in Sleepy Eye until we graduated. Sometimes we walked three miles and sometimes we all piled into our horse drawn buggy to get to school, until we eventually got another car.
In 1940, after going with my boyfriend for six years, I left Sleepy Eye and went to Newton, Kansas where we were married. I went to work in a department store at first. I remember the service boys would come through Newton on the troop train. We always had cookies and coffee for them at the train station before they left.
In 1942, I wanted a better job with better pay so I drove to Wichita, Kansas where I got a job at the Boeing Jet Aircraft plant. They put me on riveting right away. I worked on the fuselage where we worked in teams with one person on the outside of the plane and one person on the inside, which was called a 'bucker'.
After about a month, I was moved over to riveting windows. I remember we wore blue uniforms with caps and we did exercises every morning before we started work.
After about three years, my dad wanted us to come back to Minnesota to farm as two of my brothers were drafted into the service, and dad needed help on the farm. We eventually bought our own farm and adopted two little girls, Jean and Jan.
In 1960, we moved to Arizona for my husband’s health. He passed away in 1964. In 1994, I moved to Sun City and in 1999, there was a Rosie the Riveter Convention in town and that’s how I found out about the Sun City Chapter.
All my life I’ve kept busy by helping others. I was a Girl Scout Leader and I’ve held leadership positions in the Glendale Women’s Club, the Church Sodality and the Saguaro Ranch Park in Glendale, Arizona.
Today, I stay active and busy here in Sun City, Arizona by playing shuffleboard and cards. I occasionally go swimming and often engage in church activities. I still do my own house work and of course I go to my American Rosie the Riveter meetings each month. I have always loved people and social activities and I enjoy living in Sun City.
Cathy is a member of the American Rosie the Riveter Association.
Cathy celebrated her 102 birthday and passed on September 7, 2019... she is sorely missed.