Florence E Rossiter (1914 - 2014)

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  • "I was sorry to hear of your loss. May the God of all..."
  • "A life well lived indeed. God did indeed bless Florence..."
  • "So very sorry Carmen. I was fortunate enough to be aboard..."
  • "Dear Carmen, I am so very sorry for your loss of your..."
    - Karen Wilson
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Florence E. Rossiter
Long-time Juneau resident Florence Rossiter passed away Wednesday morning, June 18, 2014 at Bartlett Hospital. She was 100 years of age. Florence was born April 4, 1914 in Carson, Washington to Emmett W. and Grace Ellsbury Mason. The family resided in and near the Yakima Valley. Upon graduation from Wenatchee high school, she attended business-college for two years then met and later married Floyd "Bud" Phelps in 1936. The couple and two of their children, Billie Jo and Carmen, moved to Juneau in 1944. A third child, Darlene, was born in Juneau in 1946. In 1966, Bud Phelps passed away and Florence carried on her husband's sales business. She later married William "Bill" Rossiter and the couple moved to Anacortes in 1974 where they bought and operated a tavern they named "Annie's Korset". Bill Rossiter passed in 1988 and Florence returned to Juneau, her home of choice, in 1992.
Florence was known for her generous hospitality, her love of gardening, needlework, sewing, board and card games, and reading. She sewed most of her girls' clothing and made practically every prom dress and costume they had. She played bridge at the Senior Center and later at the Juneau Pioneer Home right up to her death. She and daughter Carmen kept score of their many games of Spite and Malice and, at the time of her death, were tied at 330 each. Many dinners hosted by Florence ended with hours of game or card playing. She gave many of her homemade crafting projects as gifts until she lost most of her vision in 2006. Undaunted with the loss of her crafting/needlework and reading ability, she switched to audio books on tape and continued to make cookies as gifts until she moved to the Pioneer Home in 2012. Son-in-law Jim Triplette was kept in a constant supply of "soft and under-done" chocolate chip cookies "just the way he likes them". She supplied her entire family with home-made blueberry jam-if they would supply the berries, since she could no longer see well enough to pick them herself. At age 94, she insisted on knee-replacement surgery so that she "wouldn't be both lame and blind" and powered through hip surgery and rehabilitation after a fall at age 96. Her doctor used her as a role-model for those knee-replacement patients who, in their 50's and 60's, had difficulty recovering from surgery. Florence was the hub around which her family and descendants rotated.
She was preceded in death by husbands Bud Phelps and Bill Rossiter and her daughters Billie Jo and Darlene as well as her five brothers and their wives. She is survived by: her daughter Carmen Phelps of Juneau; grandchildren (by Billie Jo) Elizabeth Secrist and her son Elijah of Moscow, Idaho and by Gwen Runyan, her husband Bob and her daughters Cassidy and Hallie of Eagle, Idaho; grandchildren (by Carmen) Erika Reed and her husband Shane of Anchorage, Rebecca Engen and her daughter Ukiah and Jeremiah Engen, his wife Heather and their daughter Aubrie all of Juneau, and grandchild Michaela Engen-Barrow and her husband Michael Barrow of San Francisco; her grandchildren (by Darlene) Nicole Hughes, her husband Henry and children Spencer and Reece, and Lucus Stutte and Alyssa Stutte all of Portland, Oregon as well as sons-in-law Bob Stutte of Portland and Jim Triplette and his wife Jackie of Juneau. A faithful letter-writer, she remained in contact with many of her nieces and nephews until her death. She is also survived by her faithful, long-time friend Rosie Hermes, age 99, of Juneau.
Florence did not wish to have a memorial or a funeral. She celebrated her 90th at the Thane Ore House in 2004 and invited all friends and relatives to come and enjoy what she thought was her last hurrah, "and that's enough". She celebrated her "truly last hurrah" at the Pioneer Home in Juneau in April of this year. These celebrations were attended by multi-generational groups of people who have known Florence since the 40's, including high school classmates and friends of her children. She was loved and visited by these people who lived both in Juneau and many parts of the west-coast whenever they were in town or at the Pioneer Home.
The family would like to thank the staff at the Juneau Pioneer Home for the loving care "Mom, Grandma, GG-Florence, or the Old Bat" (as son-in law Jim dubbed her during a trip to Hawaii) received. They would also like to commiserate with all the caretakers, bridge players, and friends who will miss her ready smile and listening ear. In lieu of flowers, any donations in her memory may be sent to the Juneau Pioneer Home.
Published in The Juneau Empire on June 29, 2014