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Jeannette mother earned 'Rosie the Riveter' title during World War II

Stephen Huba
| Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Rose Olive “Ollie” Carasella, of Jeannette, died Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017.
Rose Olive “Ollie” Carasella, of Jeannette, died Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017.

Known as “Ollie” for most of her life, Rose Carasella didn't mind when her coworkers called her “Rosie the Riveter” during the war.

Mrs. Carasella was handy with a riveting tool, not afraid of hard work and small enough — 5 feet, 2 inches tall — to fit inside the wing of an F4U Corsair fighter airplane, her daughter Georgia Martin said.

“She was tiny,” she said. “They picked her (for that job) because she was small and she could go into the wing.”

After graduating from Jeannette High School in 1942, Mrs. Carasella joined her sister, Catherine, in Akron, Ohio, to work as a riveter in the manufacture of World War II fighter aircraft.

“She was not the original ‘Rosie the Riveter,' but since her name was Rose, that was their nickname for her,” her daughter said.

Rose Olive “Ollie” Carasella of Jeannette died Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, at home. She was 93.

Born in Truxell on Feb. 9, 1924, she was a daughter of the late Robert and Elizabeth Clemens Douds.

Mrs. Carasella married her husband, James, in 1946 after he returned to Jeannette from his war service. They went to Europe for their honeymoon and, while in Rome, got a chance to see Pope Pius XII on a lark.

They were at the Vatican when a Swiss guard told them they couldn't go to a certain area where a papal audience was in progress. But when the guard noticed her husband's uniform, he looked the other way and let them pass.

“He said, ‘I'll turn my head, and you and your wife can go up.' We sat about 35 feet away from the pope,” James Carasella said.

Mrs. Carasella regularly accompanied her husband on trips to American Legion conventions in the United States. The couple also traveled to Israel, Italy and Argentina.

In Jeannette, she raised five children and later worked for Montgomery Ward as a sales associate.

“She was a really good mother. ... She took care of five kids, and we never wanted for anything,” her daughter said.

Mrs. Carasella is survived by her husband of 71 years, James A. Carasella Sr.; five children, Georgia Martin of Reading, James A. Carasella Jr. of Greensburg, John R. Carasella of Virginia Beach, Va., Richard M. Carasella of Jeannette and Mary Carasella Trowbridge of Indiana; nine grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at John V. Graziano Funeral Home, 228 N. Second St., Jeannette. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 1 p.m. Thursday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Jeannette. Interment will follow in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Hempfield.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, shuba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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