In a recent obituary, The New York Times commemorated the wonderful life and work of Naomi Parker Fraley, the “real” Rosie the Riveter.
In the end, his detective work disclosed that the lathe worker was Naomi Parker Fraley.
The third of eight children of Joseph Parker, a mining engineer, and the former Esther Leis, a homemaker, Naomi Fern Parker was born in Tulsa, Okla., on Aug. 26, 1921. The family moved wherever Mr. Parker’s work took him, living in New York, Missouri, Texas, Washington, Utah and California, where they settled in Alameda, near San Francisco.
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the 20-year-old Naomi and her 18-year-old sister, Ada, went to work at the Naval Air Station in Alameda. They were assigned to the machine shop, where their duties included drilling, patching airplane wings and, fittingly, riveting.
It was there that the Acme photographer captured Naomi Parker, her hair tied in a bandanna for safety, at her lathe. She clipped the photo from the newspaper and kept it for decades.
After the war, she worked as a waitress at the Doll House, a restaurant in Palm Springs, Calif., popular with Hollywood stars. She married and had a family.