A Pulaski County native described by her granddaughter as “always being ahead of her time” was honored on Monday.

Rose Leigh Monroe—best known as “Rosie the Riveter” on the famous WWII illustration seen above—was memorialized by having a portion of Ky. 1247 named in her honor. The new “Rose Leigh Monroe Memorial High-way” sign was unveiled during a cermony Monday.

Rose was born in Pulaski County. In the early 1940s, as a young widow with two small children, she left Kentucky for a defense job in Ypsilanti, Mich. Her job was as a riveter in the Willow Run bomber factory and while there Walter Pidgeon, who was making a war bonds film, filmed Rose.

Thanks to exposure from the films, she became the face of “Rosie the Riveter.” This month marks the tenth anniversary of Rose’s death.

To get the road designated in Monroe’s honor, members of the Somerset Junior Woman’s Club went before Pulaski County fiscal court asking for the designation of the road in Science Hill.

“Somerset Junior Woman’s Club is very proud to be the first in the county to honor Rose Leigh Monroe,” said Melanie Reynolds, member of the Somerset Junior Woman’s Club, who is chairing the Rosie committee.

“The club is thankful for all the help from individuals in the county judge’s office, fiscal court, and the transportation department (on this project),” Reynolds added.

The highway in Science Hill was designated in her honor as she was born and lived in Science Hill for several years of her life.

On hand for the sign unveiling were two of Monroe’s granddaughters, who were both very excited to come back to their grandmother’s hometown.

“I know Grandma would be thrilled to death and would appreciate everybody working so hard on this,” said Beckie Voyles, granddaughter of Monroe.

Meanwhile, granddaughter Mary Ellen Coomer described her grandmother as always being ahead of her time.

Coomer and Voyles said over the years, Monroe not only was a riveter, but a cab driver, realtor, construction business owner, and pilot.

Coomer said during WWII, they wouldn’t let her get her pilot’s license because she was a single mother. That didn’t stop her from getting her license eventually. It only made her more determined. So, more than 30 years later, when she was in her 50’s, she took lessons and learned how to fly a Cessna.

Now, years later, her daughter, Vickie Croston, also flies a plane.

“She was just determined on anything that she was told she couldn’t do,” said Voyles. “If you told her no, she’d prove you wrong.”

Though all of this was amazing for her time, Voyles said when she was growing up, her grandmother really never talked of these things.

Reynolds said the Somerset Junior Woman’s Club also plans to obtain a historical marker in Rose’s honor.

She said they will also be continuing their plan to honor all Rosies from Pulaski County by obtaining their history and putting it on file in the Pulaski County Public Library, Pulaski County Historical Society, and the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs in Washington, D.C.

Reynolds added that if anyone knew Rose Leigh Monroe or other Rosies and would like to give the club additional information, they should call her at (606) 379-6261.

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