In Memoriam: Rosemary ‘Rosie’ Kitchen

Rosemary Lucille Kitchen: A Remarkable Life

Rosemary Lucille Kitchen, a remarkable and beloved figure, was born in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, on September 16, 1931, to Carl and Edith Samuelson. Growing up on an Arkansas farm as part of a large family of nine – five brothers and her best friend, her sister Sally – Rosemary’s stories of a barefoot farm-girl’s life filled our hearts and memories. Her adventures with Sally, like riding the donkey to school, encountering wildlife, and dealing with natural challenges, painted the picture of a rich, albeit financially modest, upbringing.

In this nurturing environment, Rosemary, affectionately known as Rosie, and her sister often cared for their younger siblings. Despite their parents’ limited education, the importance of learning was deeply instilled in them. Rosie, driven and ambitious, graduated from high school at just fifteen and ambitiously pursued higher education. With a hundred dollars and a dream, she wrote to John Brown University, setting in motion a journey that led to a four-year work-scholarship at sixteen.

College brought Rosie not only academic success but also the love of her life, William (Bill) Kitchen, an aviation missionary student from Missouri. Their love story was briefly paused when Bill was drafted into the U.S. Army for service in Korea. Upon his return, they both completed their degrees, welcomed their first child, William (Billy) Randolph, and moved to California in 1956, embarking on a lifelong dedication to education.

Settling in Los Banos, Rosie and Bill expanded their family with three more children: Eric Allen, Renee Lynn, and John Robert. Bill became the renowned Auto Shop teacher at Los Banos High School, while Rosie devoted herself to teaching kindergarten and first grade. Their impact on students spanned from Rosie’s kindergarten class to Bill’s high school shop.

Tragedy struck in 1999 when Rosie lost Bill to a heart attack. She continued in Los Banos until 2016, then moved closer to her sons in Visalia, joining the Sierra Village Christian Retirement Community and attending Faith Baptist Church.

Rosie passed away on December 11, 2023, just after her 92nd birthday. A devout believer, she faced death without fear, living a life epitomized by the words on Bill’s headstone, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Rosemary’s legacy lives on through her children, Bill (Jody), Eric, Renee (J.W.), and John (Pam); her grandchildren, Jori, Jill (Chad), Brandon (Jessica), Wesley (Samantha), Alex, Emma (Kyle), Abby (Scott), and Molly; and her great-grandchildren, Allison, Claire, Samuel, Bennett, Brandon Jr., Easton, Ezra, Nash, Walker, and Colton. Her sister Sally, her children Robert, Marvin, and Linda, and her brother Fred with children Jim and Michael also cherish her memory.

Rosie will be laid to rest alongside her husband at the National Veterans Cemetery in Santa Nella, CA. A Celebration of Life will be announced at a future date.

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