May 9, 1931 – May 4, 2016
Earle Rosemary Kifer was an amazing woman. After she was born in 1931 with a crippling form of cerebral palsy, her doctors said she probably wouldn’t live beyond the age of seven. But, even though a wheel-chair-bound invalid for over 75 years, she confounded everyone by making it to just five days shy of her 85th birthday.
Along the way she outlived her parents, all four of her sisters and their husbands, a number of nieces and nephews and, oh by the way, most of her doctors. Further, she did not die of cerebral palsy, but of old age.
She was especially proud of her quarter-century’s service as a Memorial Hospital Auxiliary volunteer. Two days a week, she would travel by Amblicab to what is now Memorial Central, where she donated her time and labor filing doctors’ notes for the medical administration department. She also enthusiastically assisted with humanitarian causes, such as the Heart Fund. Her keepsakes include numerous awards and letters of appreciation from organizations involved with those causes.
Her memorial service took place at 1030 A.M. Saturday May 14th at the Swan Law Funeral Directors chapel, 501 N. Cascade, preceded by a one-hour public visitation and viewing. Committal Service and Burial followed at Evergreen Cemetery, Block 226.
Photos shown as a continuously looped slide show during Rosemary's viewing preceding her Memorial Service.
Asleep in her room on May 2, 2016
Memorial Service at Swan Law Chapel
Rosemary's Memorial Folder
The photo on the front cover was one of her favorites. Taken in 1931 when she was seven, it is the only known photograph of Rosemary standing, albeit with the aid of a wheeled walker. For many years, this picture hung on the wall of her office in the house her father built in 1936 and in which she resided until circumstances necessitated her move into assisted living in 2012. For the last several months of her life, she had it hanging over her bed in the nursing facility and proudly showed it off to visitors. And, by the way, she was also intensely proud of her name Earle, as she was named after her father Earl Kifer.
The poem "I'm Not There" was chosen for the inside left side of the folder because it capture's the nature of her spirit which will live on with the rest of us for as long as we do.
On the right side, please note the name of the chaplain, Karen Matuska. We asked Karen to officiate, because she had actually met Rosemary and, like many of us before her, on that occasion was unceremoniously told to "Get out of my room!" With that insight into Rosemary's somewhat unpredictable behavior, Karen agreed without hesitation to conduct both her Memorial/Celebration of Life service at the chapel and her Committal Service at Evergreen Cemetery. She understood well the person about whom she would speak so caringly.
Finally, the two musical selections you've been hearing (if your browser is compatible and your speakers are on) were chosen because they were the ones performed live by local volunteers at the funeral of Rosemary's mother, Amy Kifer, in 1987, and we assume Rosemary had some say in selecting those songs: Closer Walk With Thee - Tennessee Ernie Ford; In the Garden - Elvis Presley
Photos of Memorial Service, interment on May 14, 2016
Rest in Peace,