Rosemary Valerie Anno (Arden)
Oct. 1, 1952 - July 27, 2019
As a young girl, Ro grew up in Chicago as the little sister to Richard and Jim, and daughter to Regina and John. She spent her time in the family grocery store, enjoyed playing tennis and ice skating, and became a Cubs fan. Her father taught her to fend for herself by showing her the value of good home economics. Change your own oil. Don’t throw things away, fix them. Her mother taught her by showing her the value of work. Always hold down a job––any job. Count on yourself and yourself only.
As a young woman in love, Rosie Baby followed John Anno to LA. She first caught his eye in 1974 on the dance floor at The Bitter End in Chicago, but she brushed him off. After a second chance meeting several months later, they quickly fell in love, moved in together, and she followed his dreams thereafter. He dreamed up moving to LA with her, and then moving to a Missouri farmhouse, where they bought 3 cows, 2 turkeys, and some chickens––all of which died the first winter. He dreamed up businesses like Anno’s General Store in Conway or Homers and Hoops Sports Emporium in Springfield. And she spent her nights with him sitting on the bed, carrying on about her plans for how she was going to make them all come true. And she did.
As an ambitious woman, Rosemary did the smart thing and went to Triton Community College, earning her associate degree in surgical technology, a career that would be the economic foundation of her family for 40 years. Nearly all of those years were at Mercy in Springfield, where she spent her days and many extra nights earning a reputation for her tenacity and wicked humor. And she was often a squeaky wheel, advocating for better patient care and better working conditions, even going so far as to strike for them. She always had at least one obligation outside of her family and career that she would invest in, and it usually had to do with righting some wrong. That manifested itself in tasks like walking the dogs at the Humane Society, tutoring a struggling 3rd grade girl, starting a recycling program in the surgery department, and campaigning for Clindy Slimp for Missouri District 133, among so many others.
As a selfless caregiver, Rosie opened her home and heart to all. If you slept on her couch, she made it a bed for you. If you were in dire straits, she gave you a room. If you had too much fun at Remington’s, she gave you a ride. And if you were hungry, everyone knew the snack drawer would be full. If you were a friend of Sarah or John, she tried to nurture you and truly cared about your well being. Occasionally, she would pay attention to her own needs and pamper herself by spending a whole Saturday morning garage saling in the fancy neighborhoods, or hitting a clearance sale at JC Penney.
As a devoted mother, Mom made herself available to her children, at all costs. While in LA, Sarah came along in 1979. Just after they made it to Missouri in 1981, John came along. From then on, nothing much else mattered but being a mother and being the best at it. No task was done unless it benefited the kids in some way––anything else was a waste. The most important task of all was teaching them how to be both kind and fair, the two virtues she regarded most highly. She never missed cheering at a baseball game or a swim meet. She didn’t think twice about strolling into any bar in town to watch John play, or to have a drinks with Sarah. Once they made her a grandmother to Cain, Ella and Jack, her love grew beyond measure. She might argue that the last 10 years of her life with them were her best.
No matter what name you call her, please join us in celebrating her life at a memorial service on Saturday, Aug. 10 at Greenlawn East. Visitation will be from 4-6 p.m. with memorial remarks by Sarah at 5:30.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Planned Parenthood or the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri, two organizations that she wholeheartedly supported.