Phyllis Kessler Rose, 88, of Fleming Island, Fla., passed away early Saturday morning, March 9, 2019.
She was born to John Peter Kessler and Elsie Margaret Parr Kessler on Feb. 1, 1931 in Annville, Pa. She graduated from Palmyra High School, Pa., and attended Penn State University majoring in physical education. After college, she entered an exciting and emerging profession as a stewardess with Capital Airlines, based out of Buffalo, N.Y. It was in these early years of traveling the country Phyllis met the love of her life, Bob Rose, on a blind date in Buffalo. And so, the love story began.
Two years later, they eloped to Russellville, Ky., where they were married July 16, 1954 by a local judge. They later settled in Brandenburg, Ky., where their first child, a son Larry, was born. Shortly after the birth, the young family moved to Pensacola, Fla., where Bob started his career as a chemical engineer with The Chemstrand Corporation (later part of Monsanto Corporation). This move began an adventure that saw Phyllis and her family living in a number of cities as Bob’s career flourished.
In Pensacola, two daughters, Lee and Lisa, were born. In 1963, Bob was transferred and the family moved to Decatur, Ala., which became their home for the next 15 years. During their wonderful years in Decatur, Phyllis worked at a number of jobs, all serving the children of the community – physical education teacher, teacher’s aide, director of T.C. Almon Recreational Center and the Parks and Recreation summer day camp program. Additionally, she was an avid golfer and a member of Decatur Country Club, a member of Decatur’s Women’s Club, the Penn State Alumni Association, and performed in and supported local plays and arts. A lifelong Episcopalian, she and her family attended St. John’s Episcopal Church where she was a member of the Altar Guild and taught Sunday school. She was also an avid reader and enjoyed gardening with Bob and their evening strolls to admire the fruits of their labors.
More importantly, Phyllis was a loving mother and wife who wholeheartedly supported her husband and children in their many business, academic, social and sports activities. Most notably, Phyllis was extremely active with Decatur Swim Association, serving on the Board of Directors and as a volunteer at swim meets.
After her time in Decatur, Phyllis and Bob’s adventures continued with moves to Woodbury N.J., Dimondale MI, Salem N.J., and Athens, Ga., before retiring to the Beaufort, S.C., area, residing on Dataw Island, and later, Fleming Island, Fla.
The couple traveled both domestically and internationally. All of these stops were filled with fun, new friends, wonderful family times, dining and dancing, and always love. With boundless energy and great humor, Phyllis Rose loved everyone and children in particular. Unyieldingly positive and caring, it was often said, “If you don’t like Phyllis Rose, something must be wrong with you!” She will be profoundly missed by all - her gentle words, unassuming ways, and unwavering love were the true center, strength and light of the Rose family. Her example will be a guide for everyone for the rest of our lives.
This is not the end of the love story for Phyllis and Bob, simply a pause. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, and her beloved brother John Peter Kessler Jr. She is survived by her husband of 65 years Robert Lawrence Rose, her sister Patricia Kessler Allred (Daniel) of San Antonio Texas, her son Robert Lawrence Rose Jr. of Nashville, her daughter Lee Rose Digiovanni (William) of Fleming Island, Fla., and her daughter Lisa Rose Sullivan (Andrew) also of Fleming Island, Fla. Her grandchildren include William Scott Digiovanni of Jacksonville Fla., Robert Lawrence Rose III (Lucero) of Murfreesboro, and Emma Catherine Brock Rose also of Murfreesboro, along with numerous nieces and nephews across the country.
A celebration of life is being planned in Fleming Island, Fla. Details will be released at a later date. Her funeral and burial will take place in McMinnville, also at a later date. The Rose family would like to thank the staff of Allegro Senior Living, Concierge Care, and Community Hospice and Palliative Care for the love and care you showered on our dear Phyllis, as well as the many friends who have offered their prayers and condolences during this difficult time.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Phyllis can be made to the city of Decatur for use in support of youth programs managed by the Decatur Parks and Recreations Department, P.O. Box 488, Decatur, Ala., 35602.
(McMinnville, Tenn.) April 5, 2019