( November 10, 1929 - March 7, 2014 )
Rosemary has been Married to Jerome for 63 years,
Mother to Jerry Jr., Mary and Susan.
Grandmother to Jessica Rose, Christina Marie, Pamela Grace
Grandma the Great to Lance Jerome, Kyrsten Ann, Alyssa Rose, Anthony Carroll, Jaiden Xaiver, and Elyse Rose Marie;
Mother-in-law to Rebecca, Duane, and Jim.
We are certainly saddened by the loss of Rosemary, as she meant so much to all of us, but it is because of her that we have come together to celebrate the life she had, and the effect she had on all who knew her, worked with her and certainly all of us who loved her.
Rosemary was born November-10th-1929 to Herb and Agnes Goede, then residing at 50 east Fulton Street in Edgerton, Wisconsin. She was the youngest child following brothers Paul and Don.
By her own admission, she was spoiled rotten and while the police chief of Edgerton was sure she would grow up to be a race car driver (nick named Lead Foot Rosie) she had aspirations to be the next Shirley Temple. Her dad died when she was 16 and the whole family continued to work at the family restaurant in downtown Edgerton.
After High School, Rosemary went to Stout State University where she met the love of her life - Jerome H Zelenka - and even though they were "just friends" after they graduated in June of 1951, they were married and went on their honeymoon - fishing in Canada. You see, Rosemary had convinced Jerome that she was an avid hunter and fisherman before the honeymoon, but after she caught the biggest fish – Jerome -, she never felt the need to go hunting or fishing again.
Together they planned and built their house in Milwaukee, on Vera Avenue and raised 3 amazing kids.
Rosemary worked evenings at MATC teaching adults sewing, cooking and her passion - party planning. When the kids were in school all day, she went to work for Henri's Salad Dressing Company as their Home Economist. When she left Henri's she went to work for Becker meats and lastly at the International Institute of Wisconsin as a program coordinator. Here she developed the CAP program, (children's awareness program) for the Holiday Folk Fair and went on to become the third General Chair of the Holiday Folk Fair, following in the family footsteps of the originator, Vlasta Vojta and her father in law, Henry Zelenka.
Rosemary on top of being a Wife and Mother, was also very active in Sokol and the Holiday Folk Fair. Not surprising, she always said that in her wedding vows, she promised to love, honor and work the Holiday Folk Fair.
From her earliest years in Sokol, she participated in all group activities, food preparation, Gymnastic exhibitions, singing and Dance, and once performed with the Czech Dance Group in a presentation of “The Bartered Bride” in Waukesha. She especially loved the New Year’s Eve Masquerade Balls at the old Bohemian Hall.
As part of Sokol, she worked the baking sessions for the Czech food booth at the folk fair, eventually she took over the baking sessions and introduced the infamous "little coffin" to the bakery sold at folk fair. She promised to never share the recipe and for many, many, many years, people would plead for her to "give it up".
When Jerome became president of Sokol, she was right beside him as the secretary and pretty much ran the show.
Her passion for party planning was very evident as she created “Trust Me Tours” and organized many outings for Sokol. From Gambling Trips, to Dinner Theater, Sight Seeing Tours, Exhibitions to Chicago, Sokol's particiaption in the Cal Drills in Phillips Wisconsin, and so many, many more.
Rosemary also went international and planned trips to the Czech Republic. On one of their last trips, traveling with Sokol Friends to an All Sokol Slet in Prague, they decided to add Italy to their agenda before returning home. In Italy, they were sightseeing aboard a gondola ride with an accordion player. When someone in the group mentioned that Jerome could play, he was handed the accordion, and began to serenade Rosemary and guests to a merry tune of his own.
Rosemary loved to travel. She and Jerome made several trips to Las Vegas and Alaska, which were their favorite destinations.
Throughout her entire life, Rosemary was a Teacher. She taught her Children, Grandchildren and Great grandchildren the value of volunteering, dedication and loyalty to family and friends, setting goals and most importantly, that it did not matter so much what you said, but how you said it. She always believed that anyone can do anything they wanted, if they really wanted to. Rosemary seemed to have an endless amount of energy and whenever asked “how do you feel”, she had one pat answer - “fat and sassy”
Today, we have come to celebrate Rosemary's life, To gather together, To hear the stories, Trade the memories, and console our grief in our loss, but Rose would want more than that, for whenever she saw a need, she wanted to fill it, and so do we.
On this solemn occasion I have brought with me a poem called “The Dash” for as we so often see on memorials, there is an inscription of a birth date, followed by the date of death, and in between the two dates there appears a dash. That dash, that small little line, represents the entire life of the person who has gone. All the things she loved, all the things she did, all she cared for and all the ones she helped.
The question we need to ask ourselves is, what are we doing with our DASH, that short period of time between our birth and our death that makes a difference. All of us know what Rosemary did. We have all benefited from her tireless efforts, her kindness and her help.
Her Children, Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren, all appreciate the life's lesson she taught them about caring and kindness. To Volunteer, To be Loyal, Honest, Trustworthy and Self Sacrificing.
That is what she would ask from all of us here today. That we go out and make a difference to some organization, somebody, or something, for that was what Rosemary's life was, and what she would want from all of us.
In closing I would like you to click on the link below and read
“The Dash” a poem copyright 1996, by Linda Ellis.