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Obituaries » Rosemary T. MacKenzie

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July 24, 1931 - September 30, 2023

A celebration of life will be held at St. Mary’s Bart Hall following the 11:00 a.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 939 Charlotte St. in Kalamazoo, MI, on Saturday, October 21, 2023.  Interment will be held on October 23, 2023, at Mt. Olivet Cemetery beginning at 1:00 p.m.. The family would like to extend a special heartfelt “thank you” to Dr. Spector and his team for giving Rosemary these past four years to finish her bucket list and farewell tour. Memorial contributions may be made to the family (checks payable to Susan Dornan) or to Sue’s Loving Care, c/o the funeral home.  “Thank you all for loving and being a part of Rosemary’s life.”

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Rosemary T. MacKenzie of Kalamazoo with her loving family by her side, returned home to join her loving husband to dance once again and put her loving arms around their beloved daughter DeeDee. On September 30, 2023, Mom, Grandma Rosie, or the Little Woman known by most was finally where she was so ready to be. She remained here with family and friends for an additional seven years after loosing her beloved husband George; one year for each of her “Lucky 7” as her children were known by. She reached her goal of living in “The Big House” for an amazing sixty years. She would always say “hello house” and “good-bye house” when coming and going from the drive. Rosemary pulled away for the last time as her children stood in honor and said for her one finale “good-bye house”. Rosemary believed if you were family, you were also a friend and if you were a friend you became family.

Family, friends and food; specially gathered around the long table set up down the middle of the living room for Thanksgiving, Christmas and everything in-between always brought her great joy. Though the table was set for twenty-eight or more, there was always an extra plate for anyone to join.

If Rosemary wasn’t outside raking, she was inside baking her famous Dream Bars or Brown Bread “with or without nuts?” she would always ask. You could always find her gardening, tending to her flowers or sitting by the fire pit with her loving son Rick. This past year brought her much joy when Rick purchased an RV to take her on a road trip her “Farewell Tour” she called it, to see her twin boys David, of New Mexico and Dennis, of California. A glorious two months travel it was!

Rosemary was a homemaker, a loving wife and referee of the “Lucky 7”. She was considered to be a professional spectator and fan of sports, marching band, or whatever activity her children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren may be involved in. Rosemary took great pride in being part of the St. Mary’s Women’s Sodality for over sixty-five years. She also served as George’s assistant manager and cashier at the family grocery store.

Rosemary was born in Chicago, IL, on July 24, 1931, to the late John and Betty Tarnas. She was united in marriage to the love of her life, her true soul mate, George MacKenzie on September 23, 1950, in Paw Paw, MI. From then on, the quiet house was filled with love and laughter as they welcomed each of their children into the fold. If you knew George and Rosemary, you knew how lucky the children were.

A memory from her son Dennis: “I’ll share a ‘Real Life George & Rosie Mystery Play Story”, that Rosie Mom and Dad George shared with us Twins as Mom and Dad’s 1st born, and how a unique Event that took place that had a far-reaching affect that allowed all our Mom and Dad’s 7-Heaven Kids the opportunity to be born in the first place. Dad’s older brother Bud had already been drafted and served in horrendous battles during the Korean War and returned home a very suffering and internally wounded young man, that led to Bud’s early death in a car crash a mile from ‘Grams and Grandpa’s home. Dad also got his Draft orders to go into the Korean War and was preparing to serve, at the same time Mom was pregnant with wat they believed to be one child on the way. At that time all men who had no kids or ‘only’ on child, were automatically drafted. However, only when Mom went into Labor did the Doctor, Mom and Dad realize they had Twins: David was the 1st born at 4:30am and I followed at 4:43 on 11/20/1951. With this Great news, Dad had Proof that he was now father of 2 sons in the ‘Nick of Time’; which saved him from having to go to war in Korea! Thus, our Life Long Amazing, Loving & Caring Beautiful Souls George and Rosemary Tarnas MacKenzie began raising all of us, later known as ‘The Lucky 7’. I, Dennis & my twin brother David, and all of us have been, and will always remain Grateful beyond Words, that we were Born through the Love and Compassion of our Mother and Father, Rosemary and George! With All our Hearts and All our Souls we will always Love and Honor Mom and Dad! See ya round Mom and Dad, Love and Peace, Dennis Grant MacKenzie.”

As parents, Rosemary and George provided love and guidance to their seven children. We as Brothers in Arms and Sisters all looks forward to climbing the Stairway to Heaven to enjoy a wonderful family reunion and a perfect round of golf in the Kingdom. Dad will keep score while Mom reads our spy mystery intrigue book! Love & Hugs to Our MacClan while her favorite song “Spirit in the Sky” plays on. Until next time, We’ll just end with “Let it Be” and “nighty-night mom, hugs, David (MacDivot).

At last she found her voice leaving precious audio love messages for her loved ones. To use sister Deedee’s word’s, “Yes cry for me for it’s Gods way of thawing those frozen in grief. Tears mean she mattered and was loved; live your life for we will all be together before you know it.”

Rosemary is survived by four sons, David MacKenzie of Santa Fe, NM, Dennis MacKenzie of San Francisco, CA, Roderick MacKenzie of Kalamazoo, Michael MacKenzie of Kalamazoo; two daughters, Susan (Dave) Dornan of Kalamazoo, Mary (Tim) Dunham of Vicksburg; brother-in-law, Don (Peg) MacKenzie of Coldwater, MI; sister-in-law, Margie MacKenzie of Phoenix, AZ; son-in-law, Jeff (Sara Kerr-Persing) Stafford of Madison, WI. Also surviving are her precious grandsons, Chris (Brittani Perry) Dornan of Kalamazoo, MI, Jabe and Megan Stafford of Columbus, OH, Eric (Krista Marie Colon) MacKenzie of Kalamazoo, MI, Pat Dunham of Kalamazoo; three granddaughters, Katie Rose (Adam) Clarke of Kalamazoo, MI, Gideon (Theo Kuepfer) MacKenzie-Dunham of Kalamazoo, MI, Paige and Brenden Groggel of Kalamazoo, MI, three great-grandchildren, Keegan Sue and Riley Jay Clarke and Willow Washburne Dunham; many precious nieces, nephews and friends. Rosemary was preceded in death by her parents, John and Betty Tarnas; her beloved husband, George MacKenzie; daughter, Mercedes Stafford; a brother, Jack Tarnas; sister, Dolores Rajzer.