Rosa Herrmann Hodkinson
January 4, 1919 – February 7, 2021
My amazing Mother is in heaven.
Rosa Herrmann Hodkinson passed away on February 7, 2021, a little more than a month after her 102nd birthday. The second of four children, Rosa was born in Germany on January 4, 1919. Times were very difficult in Germany after World War I. The family immigrated to the United States in 1926 settling in South San Francisco. The family struggled through the Great Depression, the loss of the eldest son (Rosa’s brother Richard), and World War II. Though living was tough by any standard, Rosa and her remaining brother, Johnny, along with her sister, Katie (who passed a little over a year ago at the age of 97), all reached American Middle Class. They were part of the greatest generation. The gamble their parents took in coming to America paid off. After graduating from South San Francisco High School in 1937, the last remaining member of her class, in the same year the Golden Gate Bridge was completed, Rosa worked at Swift & Company in South San Francisco. She held many positions during her tenure including, but not limited to, secretary, switchboard operator, and purchasing agent. At one point she voiced her concern to a boss that she was not making the same wage as others (men) doing the same job. She was told Swift is a “man’s Company”, that she was already the highest paid woman in the company and that “she had reached the top of the ladder for women”. She replied, “I guess I’ll have to look for a company with taller ladders for women!” Rosa didn’t dwell on any feelings of discrimination. It was a different time in the world. She continued to be a dedicated employee while keeping her options open. In 1950, Rosa, along with her sister, Katie, and their mother, moved to Hollywood to join brother Johnny and cousin Charlie in a family car polish manufacturing and sales business. Later, Rosa and Johnny would buy out Charlie. With Johnny’s support and ability to sell to local detail shops and car dealers, the company grew. Rosa was a pioneer in many ways. She formulated many new products to meet the needs and requests of the company’s growing customer base. She built a brand and earned respect in a man’s business and world. She not only ran the office and oversaw all aspects of the business, she also worked in the shop doing heavy lifting and whatever it took to make the company successful. That business provided a middle-class lifestyle for both her family and her brother’s family. Rosa and Johnny, who both had left the dinner table hungry many times as children, did indeed live the American Dream. A few years after moving to Hollywood, Rosa purchased a house in Sherman Oaks for herself and her mother. She provided a safe and comfortable home for her mother for the rest of her mother’s life. She often said it was something she was so glad she did, that her mother deserved it in her golden years after having done so much for her kids during the incredibly hard times of their early lives together. Rosa married Paul Hodkinson in 1957 and purchased a house around the corner from the one that she and her mother had shared. In this way, she could remain close to and continue to support her mother. She and her husband, Paul, adopted two children, a baby boy from Germany and later a three year old girl from the United States. She and Paul retired in 1981 and moved to Walker Basin in Kern County California. In 2001, Rosa and Paul moved to Agua Dulce California to live next door to their son, Richard. Paul passed away in 2009. Rosa lived next door to or with her son in Agua Dulce for 20 years before her passing. She was on her feet until the day before she passed. She passed at home with her son and loving friends at her side. Rosa was an animal lover; a strong, uncompromising woman; a great example for her children and others; a dedicated wife and loving mother; and a proud immigrant American. She is once again reunited with her mother and siblings in heaven with God. They made a team that together overcame incredible hardships and obstacles to accomplish so much, leaving behind so many who are better off for having known them. “We will always be together in spirit. You are now my guardian angel. Until we meet again.” Your loving son, Richard.
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Eternal Valley Memorial Park Mortuary