Rosemary Mitchell, 92, of Muscatine, died on March 17, 2023 at Addington Place.
On Sept. 4, 1930 Rosemary was born in Whittemore, Iowa to Anna (Larsen) Duffy and Maurice Duffy. She was the second of three daughters—Ruth, Rosemary and Katherine—who were born a year apart. Rose lived her early childhood years in Algona before the family moved to Churdan where they operated Duffy’s Food Market on Main Street. At Churdan High School Rose served on the student council, acted in school plays, sang in the glee club and was named salutatorian her senior year. After graduation, Rose stayed home for a year to work in the store before attending a year at Ottumwa Heights College on scholarship.
Eight days after her 20th birthday, Rosemary married John Mitchell at the St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Churdan on September 12, 1950. During the next 12 years Rose had six children along with two miscarriages. One child died in infancy.
When John returned to graduate school in the fall of 1958, Rose went to work as a secretary while pregnant with her fourth child. After John graduated with a Ph.D. in 1964, the couple lived in Terre Haute, Indiana and then Muscatine, where Rose worked as a secretary at St. Mathias Catholic Church. When John and Rose retired in 1985, the two wintered in Arizona and Amelia Island, Florida before moving to the Plantation in Leesburg, Florida in 1993. There Rose volunteered at the Catholic Church and enjoyed swimming, playing golf, shooting darts and socializing with her many friends.
Through more than 20 moves and the raising of their six children, Rose was the glue that held the family together. She filled cupboards, cooked meals, sewed clothes, cleaned house and made sure her children attended Catholic schools and Mass on Sunday.
Wherever they lived Rose and John made lifelong friends. Saturday night was party night that found Rose with a glass of wine sharing crackers and cheese with guests. After John died in June 2008, Rose found joy in gathering her extended family at reunions in St. Augustine. At the 2009 reunion she introduced her special friend Bill Hofstetter to the family. For more than a decade Rose and Bill were a couple: taking cruises, attending family reunions and weddings, swimming every day and playing Farkle with friends. Rose and Bill married in 2017.
Rose was preceded in death by her parents Maurice and Anna (Larsen) Duffy, her two husbands John Mitchell and William Hofstetter; her sisters Ruth Duffy Johnson and Katherine Duffy Hoefer; and son Jeffrey Lynn Mitchell. She is survived by her four sons and two daughters and their spouses: Steve and Lori Mitchell of Muscatine, IA; Jeannette Mitchell and Paul Bourque of Norwell, MA; David and Sandy Mitchell of Aledo, Texas; Michael and Deborah Mitchell of Littleton, CO and Rockledge, FL; Ann Mitchell and Frank Adams of Sierra Vista, AZ; and Mark and Robin Mitchell of Muscatine. Rose is also survived by 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
The Snyder and Hollenbaugh Funeral and Cremation Services of Muscatine is assisting with arrangements. There will be a memorial Mass and a celebration of Rose life at a future time. Memorial contributions may be made to Addington Place of Muscatine.
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