She graduated from Skaneateles Central High school in 1956. After high school she started working at Sylvania in Camillus, NY. Shortly thereafter she met her future Husband in 1957 through a mutual friend, Rosemary Peltz, in Syracuse, NY. After Sylvania she moved on to work at the R.E. Dietz Company in Syracuse doing clerical work in the executive office.
She began growing her family in 1967 with her first son Allan, and then again with her second son Pete in 1972.
The 1970’s saw her move to a local law firm in downtown Skaneateles, named Milford, Lynch and Shannon, where she continued her secretarial role until the mid to late 1980’s. By the start of the 1990’s she had moved on to her last place of employment, Onondaga Community College, first supporting the president’s office before moving on to the English department. She retired in 1999.
Rosemary lived an active outdoor life from her early childhood, raised on her father’s farm in Skaneateles in the 1940’s. Growing up around life stock, farming, and gardening all types of fruits, vegetables and flowers, she developed a passion and care for all things nature related. She fell in love with photography and flowers, and the two worlds were forever intertwined. She was very active and social, usually acting as ring leader and organizer of parties and events with her ever growing group of friends. As a child she hosted school friends for ice skating parties on the pond at the farm. As a young adult in the neighborhood, she was always hosting summer pool parties and winter holiday gatherings. And Rosemary was masterful at arranging, organizing, preparing and executing plans for any kind of event big or small, which is why she was also so successful in her professional career.
Rosemary was a very caring, selfless person who always wanted to share the things she loved with others in hopes of bringing them happiness. Her love for roses and flower arranging prompted her to start teaching flower arranging classes at Onondaga Community College. The days she had a class to teach and was preparing materials and gathering supplies were always a little brighter for her, and she took a great deal of pride and joy from sharing this skill with others.
She was constantly watching, tracking, interacting, and photographing nature and birds. She took this hobby and evolved it into a greeting card business, where she would take photographs of her favorite nature scenes, animals and flowers, then assemble them on card stock and package each by hand before selling to the local gift shops and stores in town. Never to make a profit or compete with Hallmark, but to share what she thought was pretty or inspiring through her own eyes with others.
She grew up camping with her family, making pilgrimages to Nick’s Lake in Old Forge NY, and introduced it to her own family at a young age. Starting in the 1980’s she took a permanent camping spot in a small camp ground called Sugar Creek Glen in Danville, NY. In the 2000’s she and Harold moved their camping trips closer to home and relocated to new grounds for the summers and fall just outside of Cortland.
Rosemary loved travelling, and documenting all the trips with pictures as well. She would still talk about her trip to Hawaii, which she earned as a reward when she was a part time sales rep for Amway and became one of their top producers. She also visited relatives in California, Michigan, and Toronto Canada, as well as made road trips for flower shows and sightseeing excursions to Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and New York City.
Rosemary’s love for birds, specifically bluebirds, whose numbers are shrinking in Central New York, is what drove her and her sister Terry to make great efforts to promote nesting and the return of the species locally near their own homes in Skaneateles. Because of this cause that meant so much to her, we ask that:
Any donations on her behalf (which is so incredibly generous, so thank you) can be made to: The New York State Bluebird Society. Details can be found at www.nysbs.org
Funeral service will be held on Thursday, November 10th at 10am at St. Mary’s of the Lake Church, Skaneateles.
To send condolences, visit robertdgrayfuneralhome.com.