Gerrie Schipske was born at the Long Beach Naval Hospital in 1950. Her interest in Long Beach history and the impact the war had on the City comes as a result of her own family history. Her mother's family and her father moved from the east coast to Long Beach during the mid-1940's, in search of employment and military duty. They came to Long Beach as did tens of thousands of others who doubled City's population during the war. Fifty-six years later, Gerrie was elected to the Long Beach City Council and represents the 5th District which encompasses the Long Beach Airport and the site of the Douglas Aircraft Plant.
In 2007, Schipske sponsored legislation to rename an acre park in Long Beach -- "Rosie the Riveter Park" in honor of the women who worked at the Douglas Aircraft Plant during World War II. While preparing for the dedication ceremony, Schipske researched the contributions made by these women and decided that her research needed to be turned into a book. Schipske formed a "Rosie the Riveter Task Force" to plan annual events and a permanent memorial at the park. She has established The Long Beach Rosie the Riveter Foundation, a non-profit organization that will assist in funding programs related to the park.
A 1973 graduate of the University of California, Irvine Department of History, she also holds degrees in nursing science, legislative affairs and law. She has taught women's studies, political science and public administration at California State University at Long Beach. She is currently working on a book memorializing how aviation came to Long Beach.
She hopes that this work will bring back fond memories and inspire "Rosie's" to come forward to tell their stories.