To live in the hearts and minds of those we leave behind

Let us help get you started

Obituary for Rosemary Werner

Rosemary ‘Rosie’ Werner died in La Crosse April 28, 2024. Born April 30, 1930, she was nearly 94. She was the youngest of four children born to John and Marie (Baumgartner) Thayer in La Crosse. She attended St James Catholic Elementary School and graduated from Logan High. As an active member of the ‘Class of ‘48’ she cherished her friendships with fellow alumni and embraced all things Logan.

At just seventeen Rosemary bravely went alone, by passenger ship to visit her sister Virginia ‘Ginny’ in Italy. Ginny was a writer for the Associated Press in Rome as well as Rosemary’s mentor and role model. The journey would be a big deal even today, but then it was nothing short of remarkable.

Rosemary attended La Crosse Teachers College, majoring in Journalism. Her first job was at The La Crosse Tribune. She went on to work for WKTY, State Farm Insurance and a few other offices within the Rivoli Building where she befriended several gals who would go on to be lifelong pals. Her final career was as Officer of La Crosse Theatre Corporation which owned The Rivoli, Cinema, King, North Star and Starlight theaters.

Rosemary endured the struggle of being a divorced, single mother with two small boys and zero child support in the 60’s. She found employment and was fortunate to have the help of good friends and neighbors. As she pointed out, male employers were not keen to bring a young, single mother into the workplace and programs were not in place to assist women and children to successfully navigate these situations. Despite this, through her strict budgeting (always balancing that check book) and perseverance, she managed to save enough money to buy her and the boys their first home, lovingly referred to as ‘the Cracker box’. She considered the purchase of this home to be her greatest accomplishment as a single mother.

Rosie married Otto ‘Speedy’ Werner on December 2nd 1962. Hooray!! Many epic family celebrations were held at their Leonard Street home which was painstakingly decorated for every holiday. Having grown up in the depression, she had infinite ways to stretch a dollar. She found it impossible to throw away leftovers, even as little as a spoonful; this became known as a ‘Rosemary bit’ to friends and family. Though not a fan of dirtying a kitchen (cooking), she was always happy to present her highly sought-after Wild Rice Casserole at family gatherings where ‘Rosemary bits’ of this dish were rare.

She was a proud North Sider and creature of habit. She rarely missed an opportunity to visit the Sweet Shop or Maide Rite (back in the day), but also had a penchant for Ranison Ice Cream where she’d share a cone and stories with her own kids and grandkids after a visit to the South Branch Library.

Never one to miss a birthday or an anniversary, Rosemary kept ‘the book’ with impeccable notes and records of friends’ special days and events. She took time to find THE perfect card. Regardless of where a person lived, she knew exactly what day to drop her greeting in the mail so that it landed on the actual date or delivery date nearest to the the special day. She would even call on the day for a short visit and to be sure the USPS was doing their job.

Rosemary had a great love for the performing arts. She attended plays, musicals and concerts of all kinds. She even appeared to enjoy the dance and musical performances of her own children, grand children and great grand children. She saw many talented artists, but never did make it to see Tony Bennett, her all-time favorite.

Rosemary raised her three children to have a strong work ethic and to be respectful, kind and helpful to others. Her parenting mantras were, ‘if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all’ and ‘get home before the street lights go on’. She was proud of her grandchildren and great grandchildren and couldn’t wait to hear about, see photos of or participate in their latest adventures.

Rosemary is survived by her three children, Terry (Jan), Shawn (Mary Jo) and Amy (Joerg), grandchildren: Brett (Carly), Bryan (Amanda) and Rachel (Fernando), and great grandchildren: Thatcher, Skyler, Wyland, Aelyse, Ava, Annyka, Kiefer and Kieran. She is also survived by her nephews, Johnny, Daniel, Tim, Philip, nieces Cathy and Sally, sister in law Barb and special friends Betty Baier, Herbert ‘Skip’ Scepanski, Mark Barton, Jackie Norvill and many other devoted friends.

She is preceded in death by husband Otto, parents, sister Virginia Thayer Stoecker, brothers John and Daniel, granddaughter Sarah, daughter-in-law Linda, brother in law Peter Knopp and nephew Kenneth Knopp.

The family thanks all friends and helpers as well as the care givers and nursing staff of Bethany Riverside, who graciously treated her with great empathy, care and respect.

Funeral services and a light lunch will be held Thursday, May 9th, 2024 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 4141 Mormon Coulee Road, La Crosse at 10:30a.m. Visitation will be from 9:30a.m. until the start of the service. Burial will be at Woodlawn Cemetery, 3636 Mormon Coulee Road. Arrangements were made through Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, La Crosse.

Memorial donations may be made to New Horizons Women’s Shelter 1223 Main St, La Crosse, WI.

Rest In Peace, Rosemary.

Online condolences may be offered on this website.