For those of you who may have been expecting my normal sort of post regarding travel and photography allow me apologize. This post is a special tribute to someone whom I loved very much and will truly miss for the rest of my life. Recently, my Aunt Rose Marie Madia passed away. While she was 83 years old and not in the best of health, her passing was a total surprise to the entire family.
I have chosen to write about Rose Marie in this blog for a very important reason. When I started this blog some nine years ago I had it in my mind to share Connie’s and my travel experiences with others. I knew that many of the potential readers could and possibly would visit some of the same places we were to visit over the years. My blog would hopefully help them plan their visits to get the most out of what time may be available. I also knew there were a lot of people out there who either could no longer travel or who never could travel. So, a very large part of my intention was to give them an opportunity to see some of the places we would see through my words and photographs.
Over these same nine years some of that latter group have passed away, but not before thanking me for the shared adventures. One such reader who was succumbing to the horrors of dementia often sent me private notes of remembrance of having visited various places with her children and husband many years ago. My Aunt Rose Marie was one of those who could no longer travel and see for herself what Connie and I were able to see.
When I started this blog I was not sure where it would take me, nor did I have an appreciation for how much work it would be at times. The subtle pressure that was applied by knowledge that others were traveling and learning through my posts bore heavy on me at times. I can say with full confidence that when I thought about just fading to grey and giving the blog up, I would think of all those kind people and I would be re-inspired to keep it going. The truth is that all the technical improvements I have made behind the scenes in producing this blog have come about because I needed a way to make the posts more natural in the often technology challenged environment we frequently find ourselves. Obviously the easier it is to publish a post the higher the odds of me producing one.
So, with that as background and the renewed commitment to not give this up I would like to introduce you to my Aunt Rose Marie Madia via the tribute I presented at her funeral. One last note for those who didn’t know Rose Marie. She lived in Sheridan County Wyoming her entire life. She worked in the city of Sheridan since her high school years and until the day she passed away.
Rose Marie Madia – Who She Was
First, Rose Marie was the youngest of the six children born and raised by Italian immigrants Frank and Concetta Madia. She was also the last of the Wyoming branch of Madias from the “Greatest Generation”.
She was the aunt to sixteen of her siblings’ children and the grand aunt to way more than that. She was that aunt who never forgot a birthday or anniversary. She was that aunt who welcomed her nieces and nephews and the grands and great-grands into her home making them all feel welcomed and loved.
She was a teller and loan officer at the Bank of Commerce before it was absorbed by First Interstate Bank. Her influence at the bank went far beyond her job description as she was a wonderful ambassador for the institution at work and out in the public. Most of her years of employment at the Bank of Commerce were in a time before there were so many banks in Sheridan and most banking business was done in person. Therefore, Rose Marie knew most of the town.
She was a loyal daughter to her widowed father and as equally loyal to her then bachelor brother John, putting their needs over her own for most of their lives together. She was the homemaker in what was essentially a bachelor home. While working full time it was Rose Marie who made sure that dinner was served on time and that there was the makings for her father’s lunch before she went off to work each morning.
She was active in her church and steadfast in her faith. Although in her later years her limited mobility made it difficult to participate in weekly mass, she none the less practiced her religion and was true to her faith.
She was possibly the most active volunteer Sheridan Hospital will ever know. For years starting as a young teenager Rose Marie spent several hours a month working in the hospital gift shop and then as a volunteer book keeper. Recently she was formally recognized by the hospital for her years and thousands of hours of service.
She was the face of the Bryan Foundation administrating loans and grants to deserving young people all over northeastern Wyoming. Most of those young people have had no direct contact with anyone in the Foundation other than Rose Marie. Her work at the foundation has been important to helping give young people a leg up and keeping them in the region following graduation thereby benefiting the entire community.
She was a friend to all she knew and she knew most everyone in the area for many years.
She was the adopted mother to many cats over the years. All of whom were well cared for and loved as unconditionally as was their love for her.
Rose Marie was the voice of reason to all her nieces and nephews and highly loved and respected by them all. Many of them learned valuable life lessons from her delivered in such a manner that they probably didn’t realize they were being schooled.
Rose Marie Madia was a woman who knew how to get things done. She served on the Wyoming Highway Commission and through her dedicated efforts vast improvements to the roads in her district were realized. She was the first woman to serve on the commission and she showed the boys how to get things done.
She remained well known all over the community until her final days. It was generally the case that if you were out to dinner with Rose Marie, someone would stop by the table to say hi and pay their respects. She will be missed by many of our citizens who either knew her or knew of her many contributions to our city and state. Rose Marie Madia was one of those remarkable persons who lived a rather unremarkable life by taking great care of so many others.
And on a very personal note, she was the only person on the planet who could get away with calling me Frankie.
Rest in peace, Rose Marie Madia.