Betty Reid Soskin, who was the oldest National Park Service ranger still working, has retired after more than 15 years of sharing her life stories, including those from World War II, at Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historic Park in Richmond.
Soskin made headlines in September when she turned 100, making her the oldest park ranger in service by a long shot. On April 16, there will be a public party to mark the end of her job.
Reports say that the centenarian’s work as a park ranger has helped the park service improve how it teaches visitors about history.
In a statement announcing her retirement, Soskin said, “It has been amazing to be a part of helping to mark the spot where the dramatic path of my life and the lives of others of my generation will affect the future through the footprints we’ve left behind.”
The 100-year-old woman worked as a file clerk in a segregated Union hall when she was a young woman during World War II. Later, she and her husband, Mel Reid, opened a record store called Reid’s Records. In 2019, the store closed for good.
Soskin joined the National Park Service full-time in 2011 when he was 89 years old. In her job, she led programs for the public and talked about memories and thoughts at the park’s visitor center.
Soskin said, “It’s been exciting and rewarding to be a main source for sharing that history—my history—and giving shape to a new national park.”
“It has given my last years a reason to live.”
Director of the National Park Service Chuck Sams said, “Betty has had a huge impact on the National Park Service and how we do our job. Her work reminds us that we need to find and include all points of view if we want to tell a more complete and accurate story of our country’s history.