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Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience

Jean (Enzler) Rossi

February 21, 2024
Cary, NC




Jean Enzler Rossi passed away peacefully on February 21, 2024. Jean was born October 22, 1938 in Washington, DC, the oldest child of Kathleen Crowley Enzler and Clarence Enzler.

Jean graduated from Holy Cross Academy in DC in 1956. She attended Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, graduating in 1960. She received a Masters of Library Science at Catholic University in DC in 1962. Jean enjoyed the perks of growing up in Bethesda, Maryland, navigating 3 city busses to attend high school. She caught rides downtown with her father to the Department of Agriculture where she held summer jobs.

As the oldest of 13 siblings, Jean took it in stride when each sibling arrived, sharing her bedroom with yet another sister. Jean helped raise many of her siblings, watching over the second youngest while her mother tended to the baby.

Long before obtaining her degree in Library Science, Jean's life revolved around books. She always had a book in hand and could be found reading books at the pool while everyone else was swimming. She escorted her young siblings weekly to the library then read all their selections out loud to them. A lightning fast typist, she typed drafts of her father's books at the dining room table.

It is only fitting that she met her husband, Ernie Rossi, in a library. Jean was working at the Catholic University library when Ernie showed up to obtain books for the classes he was teaching. They were married September 7, 1963. Children Bob and Cathy soon followed. In 1966 the family moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan when Ernie accepted a teaching job at Western Michigan University.

In Michigan, Jean and Ernie filled every room with bookshelves, each crammed and overflowing with books. Books piled on every surface, on shelves Ernie built in the basement, and underneath and on top of the ping pong table. Jean read to her kids every day from when they were babies through elementary school, and continued the tradition of taking children to the library every Saturday. When they started school, Bob and Cathy were equipped with their own library cards.

In her 40 years in Michigan Jean was foremost a homemaker, where she made the Rossi family spaghetti sauce and became an expert at baking apple pie. She also enjoyed quilting and sewing, making many of Cathy's clothes when she was young. Neighbors could often hear her playing the piano and singing.

In retirement Jean and Ernie moved to Cary, North Carolina to be near their kids and grandkids. She once again connected with new friends over books. After Ernie died in 2015 Jean moved to the Glenaire retirement community, where she continued to be generous with her time playing the piano for residents, teaching line dance classes, performing in a dance group, managing the video library, tutoring staff members, volunteering at Dorcas Ministry, and studying 4 languages.

Jean was particularly proud of the father and family man her son Bob became and of daughter Cathy who turned her love of reading into writing. She always supported the decisions her children made. Jean welcomed Beth and Mike into the family with open arms. She loved watching grandsons Drew and Evan grow up into kind, young men and loved being a regular part of their lives.

Jean was grateful when her siblings created a tradition of monthly zoom calls, allowing them to connect across the country. She loved being an Enzler, dancing to We Are Family at weddings, laughing over memories whenever any subset of siblings were together, attending Bouchercon mystery conventions with her sisters, and of course sharing favorite authors.

While books were a constant to Jean, the most important thing besides family was her Catholic faith. She pursued her faith through small group discussions, bible study, daily Mass, and spiritual readings. She particularly enjoyed traveling to the Holy Land with her siblings at the age of 80. She lived her faith by putting others first and never complaining. Jean was a positive force, always looking on the optimistic side, even when moving to a new state with a toddler and 3 month old in tow or when she became a full time caregiver for Ernie. She has been an inspiration to many with her kindness, positive spirit, and selflessness.

Jean is predeceased in death by her parents, husband Ernie, and sister Mary Pat Breitfelder.

Jean is survived by son Bob Rossi (Beth) of Durham, NC; daughter Cathy Warner (Mike) of Raleigh, NC; grandsons Drew Rossi and Evan Rossi, both of Durham, NC; siblings Carol Dinan (Jack) of Alexandria, VA; Marge Enzler of Washington, DC; Kathy Brooker of Lewes, DE; Msgr John Enzler of Bethesda, MD; Connie Regan (John) of Sarasota, FL; Jim Enzler (Millie) of Surprise, AZ; Jerry Enzler (Katie Fischer) of East Dubuque, IL; Dave Enzler (Frances) of Evanston, IN; Eileen Teensie O'Brien (Kevin) of Davenport, IA; Tom Enzler (Mary) of Rehobeth Beach, DE; and Brenda English (Frank) of Rockville, MD. She will be greatly missed by numerous nieces and nephews, Rossis and Bartimacs, neighbors and friends.

Family will receive friends on Wednesday evening, February 28, 2024 from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home in Cary, concluding with a Prayer Service at 7:45 pm at the funeral home. A Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, February 29, 2024 at 11:00 am at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Cary, with committal services to follow at Wake Memorial Park. All are welcomed to a Reception afterwards at the Glenaire Retirement Community.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Dorcas Ministries or Catholic Charities.

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