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Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Rosa McDaniel would agree that she was one of the most loving and giving people around. She worked tirelessly to help others, and throughout her life there were so many who were changed because of her touch. A loving wife and devoted mother, Rosa was filled with unspeakable joy to witness her family tree blossom to include children and grandchildren who made her so very proud. Life was not always easy for Rosa, but her unwavering faith carried her through life’s trials and sorrows. Although she will be deeply missed, she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
It was great to be an American during the decade that we commonly recall as the Roaring Twenties. Innovation fueled technology all across the land, and prosperity was commonplace. Radios, washing machines, and motion pictures in both color and sound were among the latest trends while Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh took the world of flight to new heights. It was just as this decade was really getting started that Rosa’s journey began. Born on February 2, 1922, in Boligee, Alabama, she had five siblings including Nathan, Emma, Joe, Cora Belle and Vera Dean. She remembered her childhood fondly and was raised by her grandparents, Pearl and Joe Brown along with their son, Caleb, and another cousin, Edna Mae. There always seemed to be family around as many of her extended family members lived nearby. As a young adult Rosa moved to Meridian, Mississippi.
New and exciting changes were in store for Rosa when she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Willie McDaniel, and their eyes met one day while she was taking the bus to work and noticed him across the street. After a while they struck up a conversation, and the rest is history as they say. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Rosa and Willie were married in 1956. Because of a legal glitch, they had to get remarried in 1959 at the courthouse. Together they adopted three children, Joyce, Rick, and Debra, and Rosa treasured her role as a mother. She always loved kids and simply enjoyed being around them.
Throughout her life Rosa was known for her strong work ethic. She spent several years working as a cook for the board of education in the schools. Over the years she made her way up the ladder there, eventually becoming a manager.
Because of the turbulence in the 1960s, Rosa and her family bought a farm in Lawrence, Michigan, to have a safer place to raise the family. Willie stayed on the farm with the kids while Rosa remained back in Chicago to tend to her job and manage the house they rented out. She made her way to Lawrence on the weekends or whenever she could, and she oftentimes brought along neighborhood children who needed to get away for a few days. Rosa had an open door policy at the house, and she was not only a mother to her three children but she also made her home a safe haven for numerous other children. Everyone knew that Rosa gave everyone food, love, and encouragement just when they needed it most.
After having commuted between Lawrence and Chicago for 12 years, Rosa retired in 1980. Her family was always of the utmost importance to her, and she made it her mission in life to provide a better life for her children and grandchildren than she experienced while growing up. Rosa taught her children important lessons in life such as how to be independent and compassionate as well as what it means to love, make sacrifices, and to show others understanding. Rosa made sure that her children knew to treat others the way they would want to be treated and that hard work pays off. She was always willing to let her children make their own choices, but she was there to support them and walk alongside them when needed. Rosa was not only close to her children, but also to her grandchildren and other extended family members. Christmas was an important time of year for her as she set about making it so special for everyone, and she truly loved showering others with gifts. Rosa liked telling stories, especially when she was sharing some about her family history.
As someone who didn’t like being still, Rosa kept very busy after retiring. She spent years working as a nanny, helping raise other children. Later, Rosa became a home health aide, working until she was 82 years old. Cooking was always her passion, and her sweet potato pie was her specialty. When she cooked Rosa never used a cookbook, and everything was always from scratch. When she cooked she was almost always singing, usually it was gospel songs. Rosa always loved being in the kitchen and cleaning the house. She was also known for her green thumb as she could seem to make anything grow. Whether it was plants or flowers inside or outside, Rosa just had a way with them. Perhaps it was because she talked to the flowers! When it came to movies she enjoyed action movies, westerns, and any of the Rocky movies, and she enjoyed music from the likes of; Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Michael Bolton, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and any gospel music.
Rosa began showing signs of declining health during her sunset years. She began showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease and spent her final 11 years battling the disease. When she needed more care, Rosa moved out of her house to be cared for by her son, Rick.
Kind, compassionate, loving, and wise are just a few of the words that are used to describe Rosa McDaniel. Accompanied by a strong spiritual side, she was the sort of person who would do whatever she could for someone else. When asked to do something Rosa would often say, “If I am living and nothing doesn’t happen,” and she viewed every day as the greatest day of her life. With a zest for life that was contagious, she was a blessing to all who were near. Life will never be the same without Rosa here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
Rosa Lee McDaniel, of Lawrence, died on Saturday, December 3, 2016. Rosa’s family includes her daughter, Joyce McDaniel; son, Rick (April) McDaniel; 6 grandchildren, Keshia, Curtis, Derik, Connor, Ahnia, and Canaan; and sister, Vera Dean. Rosa was preceded in death by 5 siblings; husband, Willie; and daughter, Debra McDaniel. Learn more about Rosa, view her Life Story film, and visit with her family and friends on Friday from 4-7 p.m., at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler & Thompson, 60900 M-40, Paw Paw (657-3870). Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the same location. Burial will be in the Hill Cemetery in Lawrence. Please visit Rosa’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.