Rosemary C. Fee – Release Bulletin
Rosemary (Bock) Fee of Rochester, Minnesota passed away peacefully on her 88th birthday, Wednesday, September 21, 2022, surrounded by her children.
Rosemary spent the first two years of her life at St Monica’s Home in Sioux City, Iowa, until she was adopted in May 1936. Her adoptive parents, Arthur and Florence Bock of Manning, Iowa, wanted a baby boy but passed by his crib and fell in love with the blonde-haired, blue-eyed “Susie.” She and her parents adored each other. Her mother, a talented seamstress, teaches the young Rosemary to sew by making dresses for her dolls. Her father, a sports fan, took her to baseball games and instilled in her a love of sports.
While studying to be a nurse at St. Anthony School of Nursing in Carroll, Iowa, she was visiting a friend’s house and saw a picture of her friend’s brother, Keith Fee. She said, “That’s the man I’m going to marry.” Two years later, in 1955, Keith and Rosemary were married.
Her first job was as a nurse for a local doctor in Manning. Polio was an epidemic at the time, and once the polio vaccine was available, she traveled around Carroll County, vaccinating as many children as possible. She then testified in the Iowa Senate for mandatory polio vaccines. His actions have undoubtedly saved the lives of many children.
Early in her nursing career, she worked at various hospitals across the country due to job transfers from Keith. They eventually returned to Carroll in 1965 where Rosemary was a surgical nurse at St. Anthony’s Hospital, later becoming its director of nursing, followed by director of public health nursing for Carroll County.
In the mid-1970s, the family moved to Des Moines. Rosemary was appointed by the Governor to serve as Director of Iowa Disaster Services for the American Red Cross, before retiring as Director of Nursing at the Scottish Rite Senior Living Center Park. When Keith retired, they bought a house in Lake Panorama, Iowa, spending the best times of their lives on the speedboat with their children and grandchildren. They had a wonderful group of friends by the lake and spent lots of time with them, playing golf, dancing, card nights and having a drink or three. In 2007 Keith and Rosemary moved to Rochester, Minnesota to be closer to their children and grandchildren. They were proud volunteers at the Mayo Clinic.
Through it all, Rosemary has always been there for her children. Her favorite saying was, “First we gave you roots, then we gave you wings.” Not only a mother of five, Rosemary was a second mother to her children’s friends who often came to talk and ask for advice. She was the confidante of countless friends.
Rosemary’s hobbies included cooking, sports and music. Although she said she couldn’t boil water when she first married, she became an accomplished cook. She was passionate about all sports. She especially enjoyed tailgating at Iowa State football games, making mint juleps and bourbon chicken wings for the Kentucky Derby, and watching the Little League World Series and college basketball (Rock Chalk! ). Music has always been a part of his life, whether it’s playing Christmas carols on the piano, dancing with Keith or singing with The Lettermen and the Bee Gees.
Throughout her life, Rosemary was deeply devoted to the Catholic Church. Her faith in the Virgin Mary and the daily recitation of the Rosary comforted her and her children. Rosemary’s prayers were not just prayers; she felt like she had a direct line to God, especially when she prayed a 54-day novena.
Her youngest son made a plaque for her in second grade with a quote from Proverbs 31:29, “Many women have excelled, but you surpass them all.” For her children, it says a lot about a woman who was such a supportive, loving, compassionate and caring mother.
Keith and Rosemary have five children: Kevin (Sherri) of Marion, Iowa; Karen Ross (Kevin) of Loveland, Colorado; Kristin O’Donnell (David) of Mosinee, Wis.; Kelliann Fee-Schroeder (Michael) of Rochester, Minnesota; and KC (Stephanie) Fee of Rochester, Minnesota. They also have 14 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Rosemary will now be reunited in heaven with her beloved husband.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, October 2, 2022 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Ranfranz & Vine Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Monday, October 3 at 2 p.m. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, October 4 at Fort Snelling, Minneapolis. Memoirs can be made at Mayo Clinic Hospice.
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to serve the Fee family; to share a special memory or condolences, please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com.