Every female whose life she touched wanted to be Rosemarie. From the 100 plus Grandma to a newborn baby girl, she was perfection.
Rosemarie, age 68, slipped away on August 14, 2017 at home in Lake Shastina in the arms of her husband. She was born January 22, 1949 to Lillian Z. and Edward B. Mayer in Orchard Park, NY. With her parents and two older sisters, she enjoyed a summer home on Saranac Lake, NY in the Adirondack Mountains.
The child of educators, she received a special award upon graduation from high school. A New York Regents Scholarship enabled her to attend any college in the state of New York. She chose Skidmore. Before returning to Skidmore for graduation, she spent her junior year abroad at the University of Madrid. Later she completed a Master’s Degree in Library Science from San Jose State University.
After marriage to Jerry Bell who was with Bechtel in San Francisco, Rosemarie brought to the union a professional career which included VISTA, El Paso, TX, and the Houston TX Library system. She went on to become Director of the Pasadena Library, and Director of the Contra Costa County Library System. Rosemarie’s love of books and reading led her to the creation of additions to library collections and to chair an amazing author series for the Pasadena public library. She brought celebrated writers such as Larry McMurty, Betty Freidan and Steven King by suggesting they come in acknowledgment to their debt owed to their own public libraries. In addition to impressive managerial skills, Rosemarie brought to Jerry a lighter side in her love of dogs. He chuckles when he tells of receiving a photo of her with a Scottish Terrier under each arm.
There was travel, including many trips to all continents but Antarctica. Rosemarie and Jerry lived in many places, including Perth, Australia, Chicago, IL, and Walnut Creek, CA.
After retiring, Rosemarie and Jerry built a home in Lake Shastina. Their household became the prized venue for gatherings of every type. There were family visits. As the grandchildren arrived and expanded the family, each group of family members experienced the merriest, the warmest most loving gift which was Rosemarie and Jerry’s hospitality.
When there were no children about, Rosemarie made doll clothes. She made quilts and knitted things, gifts to relatives and friends. The generosity to anyone whose lives Rosemarie touched is legend. All that generosity and hospitality came from a woman and her mate who are the proverbial Pillars of the Community. Invitations to table in their beautiful dining room were coveted. Rosemarie could cook, oh boy could she cook. And the flowers on the table, Rosemarie’s. Roses six inch in diameter, peonies heavy in bloom and the daffodils. She could grow anything. The Garden Club vied with her book club and her Lake Shastina Social Club.
She skied with children and skated with grandchildren. Rosemarie ate healthy and she went to the gym regularly. How could a raging beast in the lung appear in anyone who had never smoked?
The stack of emails, notes and cards from her friends grew high. As the news of her passing flashed through her world, emails expressing shock, dismay and heartache became routine among her friends.
Her Requiem at St. Barnabas church Mt. Shasta will honor her devotion to her faith. She had been Senior Warden of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. As an active member of Episcopal Church Women, she participated in an annual elegant benefit, the proceeds supporting facilities and programs for those in need. She served as Lector, reading Lessons from the pulpit. In her most humble manifestation of spirituality, she was a Eucharistic server and officiant on a regular basis.
Rosemarie is survived by her beloved husband, Jerry R. Bell, and children and grandchildren as listed: Daughter Kjerstin Hatch (Theodore) of Mill Valley, CA; daughter Erika Devlin (Francis), Carlsbad. CA and son Curtis Roen (Gina) of Stevenson Ranch, CA.
She is Stepmother of Leslie Bell Bonneau (Matthew), Sacramento, CA and Dr. Jason Bell, Portland, OR. Rosemarie’s grandchildren are Annika and William Hatch, Clara and Rocco Devlin, Drew and Gretchen Roen and Ethan Bell. Rosemarie’s sisters, who cherished their baby sister, are Lillian Newbert (David), Newburyport, MA and Suzanne Biskin, Great Falls, VA.
Rosemarie will be remembered for her good work and her loving spirit.
Memorial Gifts may be sent to Episcopal Relief Development Fund c/o St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 701 Lassen Lane, Mt. Shasta, 96094