Rosemary Smith


Wife of the late Marquis B. Smith, Mother of Jeffrey Dean Smith and Deborah Smith McLeod ,

Grandmother of Zoё and Cedar Athanases

Proud Hoosier, Polio Survivor

MomBeautyRosemary Brown was born in 1926 to James Glen and Majel Mae Brown in Danville, Indiana.  A childhood bout with polio delayed her schooling, but with the guidance of an enlightened doctor and the hard work of determined parents, she regained her ability to walk.  She treasured her small town Midwest childhood.

A state scholarship enabled her to attend Indiana University where she majored in Business Statistics and worked in the office of the Government Department.  Swept up in the social whirl of the postwar years, Rosemary didn’t just walk – she danced!  With a closet full of formal gowns, many sewn by her and her mother, she was ready for the visits of the Big Bands that travelled the college circuit.

One of the veterans on campus taking advantage of the GI Bill to complete his MomDad Gradseducation was Marquis B. Smith.  Mark and Rosemary spotted each other in the registration line for their final semester of classes and knew they were soul mates.  Upon graduating, Mark found work in Chicago and Rosemary pursued graduate work in the Government Department.  After a small campus wedding in 1950, they settled in Chicago near her job at 1313 E. 60th Street, a well-known “nerve center for American public administration” on the edge of the University of Chicago campus.

Son Jeff arrived a year after their wedding.  Daughter Debbie came along nearly two years later, after they had moved to a beautiful old apartment building on Cedar Street, just steps from Lake Michigan.

When it was time to think about schools, they hopped on the train.  Heading north along the North Shore commuter line, watching for the first town surrounded by countryside, they discovered Libertyville.

Rosemary and Mark lived in Libertyville from 1955 until 1988.

Mark worked for Kemper Insurance and Rosemary devoted herself to her home and children.  They enjoyed social activities with the Methodist Church Kum Dubble Klub and bridge parties with Mark’s carpool buddies.  Rosemary was involved with the League of Women Voters and as a friend of the Cook Memorial Library.

After the kids headed off to college, Rosemary was able to accompany Mark on business trips, and they enjoyed weekend getaways around the Midwest.  After Mark’s retirement in 1988, they moved to Petaluma, California, near son Jeff.  Tragically, Rosemary lost the love of her life when Mark died suddenly five months later.  Rosemary moved to the Seattle area, near daughter Debbie, where she lived in Issaquah, Redmond and Woodinville.

MomXmasToastRosemary was known for her lively intellect, amazing all with her proficiency in solving cryptic crossword puzzles.    She avidly read the daily newspaper and enjoyed discussing ideas and world events.  She was a sports fan, loyally following the Chicago Cubs and Indiana Hoosiers basketball.  The Indianapolis 500 was a big annual event from Rosemary’s childhood, and her favorite part was the singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana”.

Rosemary was not able to go back home again to Indiana, but she was able to find in her adopted Northwest home  a beautiful park setting that reminded her of the small lakes and woods of her native Midwest.   She will join her beloved Mark there for eternity.


10 Responses to “Rosemary Smith”

  • Roger says:

    Wonderful obituary. I never met her but from your description she had wonderful, long and productive life.

  • Irene Fernandes says:

    Debbie, Dancing in a ball gown to the Big Bands …what a wonderful memory to keep your mom warm in her later years!
    I know that Rosemary was a good mom…remember that you were a good daughter. You was the one your mom entrusted her memories to. Keep them close to your heart.

  • Dick Busher says:


    A short, but quite touching biography. My best wishes.


  • Susan Lowe says:

    Deb: The photos in this tribute of your smiling mother speak volumes. It sounds like she had a long and happy life, with plenty to smile about. My condolences on your family’s loss of a mother and grandmother. Take care.

  • Marcy Wagner says:


    What a full and interesting life your mom had. Very nice obituary and great old photos.

  • Alice Eike says:

    What a touching story. I love the story of how your folks met- magical!

  • Christy Minteer says:

    Debbie, You chose beautiful photos of your mom. She was a very accomplished woman. I hope you and your family remember her with joy and have a great celebration of her life

  • Betty Thiell says:

    A very lovely obituary, Rosemary was a wonderful neighbor and a dear friend for many years, she will be missed.

  • Jeannie Cope says:

    Jeff and Debbie,

    So sorry to receive your card in the mail telling me of the passing of your mother. I cannot remember when the last time I saw Aunt Rosemary. I loved the pictures shown in the obituary. I’m sure these pictures bring back many happy memories. Thinking of all of you in this very difficult time.

  • Mrs. John Bullerdick (Geraldine) says:

    Dear Debbie and Jeff,
    It was with great sadness I read of Rosemary’s passing. I shall miss hearing about you two through her yearly Christmas cards. She was my dear friend in college, and we spent two years living together while there. I recall we even bought bright yellow PJ;s with blue piping so that we could dress alike. Thank you for the picture you mailed me. Gerry

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