Rose Ann Hamelrath, 95
In the early morning hours of Dec. 23, 2017, my mom died. She was 95 years old. Rose Ann Hamelrath was born in Wyoming, the third of four children of Nick and Antonia Lucas.
While an infant, the family moved to Wardner, Idaho, and this is where my mom spent her growing up years. When I was growing up, my mom would share stories of the people she knew in Wardner and Kellogg, and I loved “getting to know “ them, too. Mom grew up in the Depression, but in talking with her, I never got the feeling that her family struggled like so many did. She was blessed with loving, industrious, resourceful parents who always provided for their family.
When she was old enough, she worked at the Green Grocer in Kellogg. She worked there for a few years even after graduating high school. Eventually, she left to work at Boeing in Seattle. And as fate would have it, on a rainy night in the early spring of 1946, my mom went unwillingly to a dance at the Trianon and met a handsome young Navy fellow, Fred Hamelrath, who had popped in to get out of the rain. It seemed destined that they were there. They fell for each other right away. “She was a lady,” my dad would say, and, “he was such a gentleman,” my mom would say. And so they began writing their story that night as they danced to “their” song, “Oh What It Seemed To Be.”
They became engaged and married in December 1946. They moved to Key West, Fla., where my dad was stationed, and in October 1947, they welcomed a baby girl, Linda, who would be their only child.
My mom was a loving wife and mother. She was a homemaker of the truest sense. She kept a neat, clean house, cooked wonderful meals and she had the knack of making something out of nothing sometimes. She also managed to do volunteer work for many years for Navy Relief. And while my dad was away on deployments, she kept everything running smoothly.
She loved her yard, her plants and flowers. She had the proverbial green thumb. She could grow anything and had the gardens to prove it. She enjoyed reading cookbooks and doing crossword puzzles. She happily moved wherever we were transferred with the Navy and made a home for us. She made moves to Florida, Louisiana, Virginia, Maryland, Montana, Hawaii, Washington and Japan. Upon retirement, they eventually settled in Coeur d’Alene. Idaho was home for them. But during retirement they traveled the country with a camper trailer, and eventually an R.V. They enjoyed the places they went and people they met — making new friends and keeping up with lifelong ones.
Being outdoors in the Idaho woods, hiking and chopping wood made them happy. They would pack a lunch, go for a ride, hike or pick berries. That was joy for them. Mom and Dad were blessed with three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren that they visited when they had the chance. A great-granddaughter arrived in 2014 but, due to health issues, they were not able to travel to meet her.
In reflecting on my Mom’s life, I think she would agree it was a life well spent. Unfortunately, she began to slip away three years ago, when Alzheimer’s began to have more impact on her, shrinking her world.
My mom was preceded in death by her dearly beloved, Walter Hamelrath; her parents; her brother, Mitchell Lucas and her sister, Mary Lucas Linhart. She is survived by her daughter, Linda Hartzell and son-in-law Ray; grandchildren Frederick (Kristine) Hartzell and their children, Kaitlyn Rose and Jonathan; Heather Hartzell and her sons, Daniel and Ryan Brunick; David (Eileen) Hartzell and their sons, Jackson and Charlie; great-granddaughter Ana Brunick; and her sister, Millie Lucas Berquist.
Thank you to Renaissance of Coeur d’Alene for her care, and to Hospice of North Idaho for their support and care during this difficult time. My mom will be inurned at a later date, where she will join her love at Arlington National Cemetery.
As a poem I read recently said, “she is gone from my sight,” but she is not gone from our hearts. I feel peace knowing you are free from a terrible disease and dancing with Daddy again. Oh, what a life. Oh What It Seemed To Be.
Yates Funeral Home is entrusted with final arrangements. Please visit Rose’s online memorial and sign her guest book at www.yatesfuneralhomes.com.