Last-known female World War II-era Gibson factory worker honored in Kalamazoo

Irene Stearns
(Image credit: Guitar / YouTube)

Irene Stearns – believed to be the last surviving member of the 'Kalamazoo Gals', a group of women who worked at Gibson's Kalamazoo factory in World War II – celebrated her 100th birthday on January 30, and had the day declared in her honor by the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Making the declaration at a city commission meeting on January 18, Kalamazoo City Commissioner Jeanne Hess announced that January 30, 2022 would be known as Irene Stearns Day and paid tribute to the centenarian, calling her an “active and giving member of the Kalamazoo community”.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.