There is a school of thought that great accomplishment, especially social or artistic accomplishment, is only possible when faced with great personal adversity. The writer Virginia Woolf, the composer Peter Tchaikovsky and the painter Vincent van Gough are often called forth as examples. They accomplished much. Their internal suffering was immense. Rose Anne Weaver deserves to be added to that list. Our mother was like a flower, not only in name. She exhibited the most beautiful, (occasionally unexpected) blooms throughout her life, regardless of the tempestuous weather she was experiencing. She was first and foremost a truly gifted educator who specialized in teaching children to read that all others abandoned as hopeless. Her statement that "it is not a matter of if a child can read, but simply a matter of when and how" was often said as if an article of faith. By force of her education, skill, and determination – which could be formidable – she willed children into reading, regardless of the impairment. Whether it was a student at Milwood Elementary School, or a kid down the street, she believed a child's failure to learn was not theirs but her own – and so, without exception, her students learned to read. Her talent as a photographer appeared as unexpectedly as a crocus in early spring. Nurtured by her husband of 62 years, Mike Weaver (who by necessity became an expert art framer), she sold her work at area art shows, then suddenly picked up a brush and began painting, again with remarkable results. Her sudden desire to begin art glass blowing in our basement proved equally successful (and earned an arched eyebrow from our diligent father, who thereafter ensured the house insurance as always paid well in advance). Her skill and love of gardening is still on display at the two cottages she and dad enjoyed in South Haven. The roses and hydrangeas in the front oval of the green cottage are now beginning their annual mad dash upward into bloom. The little Japanese side garden, with the Asian sculptures she collected, is sweetly yawning, and just starting to wake up. Mom would have loved to see them right now. Yes, others achieved these things and more. But no one that my sister and I know achieved them as heroically as our mom; fighting through periods of profound, internal pain. Her fight -- aided every moment by our father to make it through the night and keep moving forward -- was remarkable. Her display of talent throughout that fight was simply incredible. Others, whose path was easy and achieved far greater fame, actually achieved far less than our mother.
The poet Maya Angelou wrote, "And still, I rise."
She was writing about our mom, I think. Rose Anne Weaver, née Cekola, born May 8, 1939, of Kalamazoo and South Haven, passed away in the early evening of April 27, 2023, at Rose Arbor Hospice. Her husband of 62 years, Mike Weaver, passed away early last year. She leaves her children, Lisa Ann Weaver of Kalamazoo; Michael Todd Weaver of Las Vegas, Nevada; her granddaughters Keegan Rose Giffels of Ann Arbor; and Grace Margaret Giffels of Kalamazoo. A memorial will be held this summer, in South Haven, Michigan, where she was always surrounded by her flowers, art, and friends.