Fairhaven Community resident Fran Gottfried strikes the iconic pose of Rosie the Riveter, a cultural image that reflected the two million American women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II. Fran worked as a welder at a local machine shop, Schmidt Machine Company in Lovell, Ohio, while her husband, Lew, was with the Navy in the Pacific.
As men went to war, the American workforce was decimated, and women took on nontraditional roles in unprecedented numbers. Always one to roll up her sleeves, Fran dug right in and learned the craft of welding.
Fran jokes that she burnt through welding rods too fast because she wasn’t doing it right. But the men running the shop were patient, and she eventually became proficient. Fran worked two years as a welder before Lew returned home. She later helped run the family dairy farm.
United Church Homes celebrates the spirit of the men and women who did whatever it took to make the American war effort successful — people just like Fran Gottfried.