Gwendolyn Schwenzer, 1918-2013: A ‘Rosie,’ a clown, and more

Gwendolyn Schwenzer clearly lived a full life over her 94 years. Even if you never met her, this remembrance shared by her family is proof:

Gwendolyn (Hill) Schwenzer
Beloved Mother, Nana, Great Nana and Great–Great Nana.

Gwen was born in Seattle on Dec 6, 1918, graduated West Seattle High School in 1937, married Herb (Fritz) Schwenzer when she was just 18, and had 4 kids throughout the years: Sharon, Diane, Fritz, and Vicki.

In 1944, Gwen went to work at Boeing as an original “Rosie the Riveter,” working on the B-29s as part of the World War II effort. She also worked at the Hideaway Tavern in White Center.

In 1979, Herb passed away, leaving a void in Gwen’s life, and that was when she joined the Eagles Clowns and became “Bubbles the Clown,” allowing her to make others happy with her great sense of humor.

Volunteering at Mount St. Vincent for 13 years earned her a warm welcome when it was time for her to move into the assisted-living area, where she is pictured on their brochure and passed away on May 8, 2013.

She will be missed by all who knew her.

That certainly will include the fellow “Rosies” with whom she was featured in this 2009 WSB story.

6 Replies to "Gwendolyn Schwenzer, 1918-2013: A 'Rosie,' a clown, and more"

  • Last53BusRider May 17, 2013 (11:46 pm)

    Would have loved to have known this lady.

  • Rick May 18, 2013 (7:17 am)

    Vicki – my condolences on your Mother’s passing – Rick Cook

  • miws May 18, 2013 (7:19 am)

    Condolences to Gwen’s family.


    Mike Stahl
    (Pat & Virginia Hawkins’ Nephew)

  • Mike May 18, 2013 (4:05 pm)

    Sorry to hear of the loss of such a wonderful individual and family member to all those that loved her. She’s a true American icon.

  • Alkigirl May 18, 2013 (5:18 pm)

    My heart goes out to Gwen’s family. I so enjoyed meeting her. A big thanks to her family for assisting Gwen so she could join some of the Rosie activities.

    The Rosies are remarkable women. I want to give a shout out to Washington Women in Trades. This organization “adopted” the Rosies to honor their role as trail blazers for the women who today work as carpenters, welders, plumbers, carpenters, and in many other trades occupations.

    WWIT has created a calendar each year over the past several that features a Rosie on every month, typically with a current photo along with a photo from her service as a Rosie and her story.

    Rosies are invited to WWIT’s annual dinner, and made to feel like the very special women that they are. There are typically several events each year where Rosies are asked to come to share their experiences and wisdom.

    As daughter of a Rosie, it has meant so much to see my mom, Rowena, who was a welder on Liberty Ships in the 40’s, honored in this way. THANK YOU Cindy, Robin, and all at WWIT.

  • Raven May 19, 2013 (2:25 pm)

    Oh what sad news. I met the Rosies at the Washington Women in Trades fair a couple weeks ago. I’m a welder if six years, Union Ironworker for two. Women like these have always been a huge inspiration for me. My condolences.

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