We Remember

CHURCH, Rosemary

August 25, 1948 — June 16, 2024

Born Linda Rosemary Robertson on August 25, 1948, to Doug & Molly Robertson, Rosemary careened through life, sharing her giant heart and contagious laugh with passengers and onlookers alike. In life and death, she embodied the advice of Hunter S. Thompson: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’”.

When she finally crossed the finish line on Sunday morning, June 16, 2024, Rosemary’s daughter, Jocelyn, was at her side holding her hand.

Rosemary was always a person of extremes — some good, some bad, many ridiculously fun. She made friends wherever she went, most people adoring her, and yet she often felt anxiety in social settings. Maybe it had something to do with how she would regularly blurt out overly personal things, which always got a laugh. She was incredibly intelligent but didn’t make people feel inferior. Passionate about others’ success, even small victories, yet she could be very hard on herself. Rosemary was outside the norm; she was never good at following someone else’s rules, and woe to the person who got in her way of doing what she wanted to do!

Rosemary always spent or gave away more than she had. She was extremely generous to people from all walks of life, especially to children. In the early ’70s, she was the secretary at the public school in Deseronto, ON, where she is remembered for taking kids out to buy them boots, snowsuits—or other essentials they might need. She’d go out of her way to bring safety and joy to kids she knew were having a rough time, and she’d deliver groceries to students’ homes if she thought they were in need. When she won a dream RV in a lottery, she, much to the shock of her family, gave it away the same day to a struggling family in need of a home.

Rosemary’s love for her family growing up was boundless. She was the third child of four: Michael, Suzanne (deceased), Rosemary, and Dougal. She shared a special bond with her father, Doug, a devotion only a father and daughter can understand. She was devastated when cancer finally took him. Long before that, she experienced the loss of her mother when she was only a teen. This naturally took a toll on Rosemary, but she gained a stepmother, Cynthia, whom Rosemary loved with all her heart, despite their rough start together. Cynthia and Doug had two children, Pam and John Gregor “David”, giving Rosemary more siblings to adore.

Her laughter was distinct, frequent, and loud, and it will be echoing for a long time in the hearts of her friends and family. While those who loved her cherished her laughter, that’s not to say it was always appreciated. One notable incident was when she got ejected from a movie theatre with her dear friend, Jerry. Their riotous laughter led to complaints from other moviegoers. When the usher asked them to leave, they rose up and retorted, “Well, we’ve been kicked out of better places than this!” which only made them laugh even harder.

When she was young, Rosemary was playful and adventurous, especially on the water where she sought after fast boats, waves, and sunshine with reckless abandon. The family still chuckles about the number of boats she managed to crash at the family cottage (her father used to lovingly say she was an accident waiting to happen). One fateful day, her big brother Michael introduced her to his friend (also named Mike). When Rosemary needed a date for a wedding she was attending, Mike gallantly offered to escort her. That evening marked the beginning of a 50-year love story. Rosemary and Mike complemented each other perfectly despite their differences; her vibrancy paired well with his laid-back demeanour. They married on December 12, 1970, and remained together until the end. When Mike passed away in January 2019, Rosemary’s devotion to him continued, speaking of him often and forever missing his presence by her side.

Together, Rosemary and Mike had two children, Jocelyn and Peter. Rosemary was an incredibly dedicated mother who loved her children fiercely and taught them to love just as intensely in return. Throughout their childhood, she was a devoted stay-at-home mom, showering them with more love than they could ever want. “You’re perfect!” was a frequent (although perhaps inaccurate!) compliment she gave them both. Christmases were always for the kids, they were a benevolent flurry of frenzied, last-minute, shopping, presents galore, and a menagerie of cats and dogs, all accompanied by festive feasting and Christmas music. Once the kids were older, and she felt she had prepared her beloved children for the world as best as possible, Rosemary returned to work. Even then, neither years nor distance could prevent Rosemary from fretting over her “babies.”

Once back in the workforce, she continued in administration, where she always became a valued and relied-upon employee and co-worker. During the interview for a job she kept for many years, when asked a question about her resume, she blurted out, “Oh, I don’t know, my son wrote that!”.  She had a gift for mixing laughter with hard work, and she formed permanent friendships with employers, Chuck and Donna (Cranbrook), Jim (Calgary), and Beecher (Airdrie).

After retirement, she moved in with her daughter and grandson, Tanner. Being so close to her only grandchild was a delightful and important part of her life. She was enamoured with him from the day he was born, and to be able to see him everyday while he was growing up was a dream come true for her. She stayed with them until the passing of Mike, and the loss of her leg due to Diabetes.

It took a miracle, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was admitted into Mountain Lake Seniors Community. There, she befriended many caregivers and “inmates” (as she jokingly called her fellow residents), most notably is Mary-Lin. She and Rosemary were the best of friends, inseparable from the moment she moved into the room next to her. They would spend their time playing Scrabble (they were perfectly matched since they would both cheat!) and going outside together, Mary-Lin pushing Rosemary’s wheelchair. Rosemary’s caregivers nicknamed her “Trouble” and they loved to make Rosemary laugh.

Rosemary was the beloved wife of the late Mike Church. She will be deeply missed by her children, Jocelyn Davies and Peter Church (Kimberley), and grandson, Tanner Davies. She will also be missed by her siblings, nieces and nephews, and the rest of her extended family. Lifelong friends, like Linda Kimmett, hold a place in their hearts for their dear Rosemary. Rosemary was bigger than life, and the void she leaves is just as big.

Unfortunately, Rosemary had more than her fair share of adversity. She lost many dear friends to early deaths and because of her deep love, these losses brought deep hurt. She, along with the whole family, developed a gallows humour that managed to brighten the most somber of moments. She met grief with laughter, and would want you to do the same when you remember her. The last thing she said to her son was, “I love you. Don’t worry. I’ll be good.” Those last 3 words should get you laughing, since we all know she has NEVER been very good at “being good”.

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