MARY OREB WORKED FOR STAR-KIST FOR 50 YEARS. She
started with the company, then French Sardine, when she was finishing
her senior year at Mary Star of the Sea High School in 1934. Mary
began as a fish cleaner, was promoted to assistant floor lady, became a
table supervisor, and for 20 years, served as a Lead Floor Foreman. She
was also a liaison for the Cannery Workers Union for several years.
1984, after Star-Kist, then owned by HJ Heinz, closed the Terminal
Island plant, Mary stayed on as an educator for smaller operations in
California, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa.
Mary was born in
Tacoma, Washington. Her parents came from Croatia to work in the
growing salmon industry in the American northwest. As the American
Pacific fishing industries grew, her family followed the fish south.
Mary’s husband was a fisherman as well until he shifted to longshoring,
where he spent most of his career. Together they built a comfortable
home in an exclusive section of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.