With sadness, we announce the passing of Rosemary (Finn) Waters, on January 3, 2021 at age 95. She was our beloved mother and a friend to all whose lives she touched.
She was born July 24, 1925 at her grandparent’s (Alvin and Gertrude (Anderson) Cooper) farm home in North Branch (near Alma Center, WI) to Samuel and Mabel (Cooper) Finn of Merrillan, WI. Her two siblings, Dorothy Ann and George Alvin, were also born at the Cooper farm home. Following many roller-skating dates in Hatfield, she married Ray B. Waters of Alma Center on Easter Sunday, April 6, 1947, at the Merrillan Methodist Church Parsonage, just prior to the church services. The couple resided in Alma Center all their married life and in July 1959 moved to their farm home in Alma Center. They were married for 67 years.
Rosemary earned her cosmetology license in the 1940s in Eau Claire, WI. After beauty school, she worked at Martha Winters’s Beauty Shop in Black River Falls, WI. Rosemary often quoted Martha’s good-bye phrase: “Good night. Remember, take it easy, but take it.” Martha was her mentor. Rosemary worked in and managed several area beauty shops when the owners were on vacation. In the 1970s, she opened The Beauty Nook in her home and operated a successful business that included many repeat clients. Her clients always had fresh coffee and something sweet available during their appointment. Rosemary employed and enjoyed the company of several beauticians at The Beauty Nook; she later helped some get started in their own salons.
She enjoyed living in Alma Center and was active in the local Jackson County Extension Homemakers Club, the United Methodist Church (as MYF Leader and as Sunday School Superintendent and teacher), and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 8494 Auxiliary. Rosemary supported these organizations’ special events, from prepping and serving at church fish boils to working at the VFW’s Memorial Day charcoal chicken dinners and Strawberry Festival food stands. Rosemary and Ray were longtime members of the VFW and served “their turn” in leading Post 8494: Rosemary as president of the auxiliary and Ray as post commander.
As involved as Rosemary was in her business and local organizations, she also had fun. She loved and very often recited memorized prose and poetry learned at Merrillan High School. Her brother George added that with the shortage of teachers during WWII, Rosemary, unofficially ‘taught’ English at Merrillan High School while a high school student. As children, we recall Mom singing along with the latest tunes being played on the radio. Rosemary and Ray loved movies: typically watching every ‘turn’ of the feature at the Falls Theater in Black River Falls, and later the features in Eau Claire, or staying up late to watch a movie on television. Rosemary tutored many local children who participated in local, county, and state 4-H competitions and was a Den Mother for the local Boys Scouts of America troop.
Rosemary was always busy and her interests were extensive. She especially enjoyed reading: lots of books, encyclopedias, magazines, newspapers, and professional journals were always at hand. She enjoyed roller-skating, home improvement projects with her friends (especially wall paper, paint, and furniture projects), bowling, and attending auction, estate, and thrift sales. Entertaining her immediate and extended family members was something in which she excelled, and our family and holiday meals were always special (and plentiful).
Rosemary traveled with Ray in the U.S. and twice to the British Isles. They especially enjoyed attending the Eighth Air Force’s 95TH Bomb Group reunions in the U.S. and in Horham, East Anglia, England, and they maintained several long-term friendships with members in the U.S. and England. Ray was used to flying and Rosemary was a really good sport about the 8-hour trips between O’Hare and Heathrow. Regardless of the length of their planned travel, Rosemary often stated, “I haven’t left home yet, and I can’t wait to get back.” She truly enjoyed her life in western Wisconsin.
Rosemary is survived by her brother, George Finn of Ojai, CA; her four children: Mary Waters of Geneva, IL; John (Vickie) Waters of Greenwood, WI; Dan (Gina) Waters of Osseo, WI; and Ned (Annamarie) Waters of Winter Garden, FL; her grandchildren: Sara (Jake) Olson of Rhinelander, WI; Erin (Dustin) Kuchera and Nathan Waters of Scottsdale, AZ; Amanda and Brianna Waters of Winter Garden, FL; Sam Waters of Eau Claire, WI and Ellie Waters of Minneapolis, MN; her nephew and niece: Michael Finn and Kelly (Finn) Hofmeister of Ojai, CA; and, her two lively great-grandchildren, Evelyn Mae and Scarlett Kate Olson of Rhinelander, WI, always made her smile. At Rosemary’s 90TH birthday party, Sara asked her grandmother what life advice she would give all of us: “Be glad for every day and always look forward.”
Rosemary was predeceased by her husband Ray, sister Dorothy (Finn) King, brother-in-law Peter King, parents (Sam and Mabel Finn), in-laws (Dana and Myrtle (Lane) Waters), nephew Casey Jay Doherty, niece Kimberly Kay Finn, and sister-in-law Sue (Hagen) Finn.
The family wishes to thank all the great friends that Rosemary and Ray leave behind who meant so much to them. They talked fondly and told lots of stories of the friends who stopped by for coffee. Due to the pandemic, a celebration of Rosemary’s life is postponed to a time and place to be announced in 2021.
Condolences may be sent to The Family of Rosemary Waters, at either of the following addresses: N50796 County Road O, Osseo, WI 54758 (Dan) or 1003 Steven Avenue, Greenwood, WI 54437 (John). Online condolences may be directed to the Jensen-Modjeski Funeral Home, Hixton, WI.