Resident was one of the original Rosies
BY KATHY KANE
It seems one of the things this interesting neighbor has in common with many past neighbors featured here is spunk. This neighbor happens to be one of the original Rosie the Riveters and certainly didn’t realize at the time that she was part of a historic change in U.S. history. She still seems to have the “We can do it” attitude that has been the Rosie the Riveter hallmark along with the strength, skills and stamina to be successful in any undertaking. Meet Stella Prusak.
KK: So have you always lived in Trenton?
Stella Prusak: I’ve lived in the Downriver community for approximately 70 years and am now 96 years young. I moved from Detroit once I married, to the city of Allen Park and raised my family of two sons (deceased) and one daughter. I moved to Trenton about seven years ago and love living in Trenton. The community, the activities and most of all, the residents make it such a wonderful place to reside.
KK: You were recently honored at an event for Rosie the Riveters. Tell us about that.
Prusak: I became a Riveter in 1942 when the war broke out and women were needed in the factories to support the war effort by helping with the assembly of the planes. I first worked on assembling the transmissions for the B-29 planes at Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn. My father and I would take the street car together because they worked the same shift but I was in one department and he worked at the steel mill. At that time, I was the only woman in the department and recall that I was treated fairly. I also worked at the General Motors plant. I riveted the bolts on the wings of the airplanes and recall that they produced four wings per day. The working conditions were good and I belonged to a union.
KK: Tell us about the award you just received.
Prusak: Myself along with four other attendees were part of the Rosie the Riveter contingent that was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame on Oct. 19, at Michigan State University. We enjoyed a banquet and awards induction ceremony, where we received the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame Life Achievement Award representing all of the Rosie the Riveters who worked in industrial factories and shipyards in Michigan during World War II. Rosie the Riveters inspired a generation of women to enter the industrial workforce at a time when they were desperately needed.
KK: What is your favorite thing about being a Trenton resident?
Prusak: I have always felt the warmth and hospitality I had felt when I moved into Bretton Village Coop. My first neighbors that I was introduced to were Tobie and Nancy, who live across the street. One time my stove broke and they came to the rescue. They are always willing to help, regardless of the circumstances or time.
KK: What is something most people don’t know about you?
Prusak: I have always loved music and enjoy dancing, even if it’s in the privacy of my own home. I have been a lifelong advocate of exercise whether it is walking or just doing exercises watching television, which I did back in the day. I loved to watch Ed Allen and Jack Lalane. I feel that exercise is what is helping me to live a long and fulfilled life.