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Rosemary MacBird


1921 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Rosemary MacBird Obituary
November 19, 1921 - January 25, 2018 Rosemary MacBird née Simpson, born November 19, 1921 in St. Louis, MO, died on Thursday, January 25, 2018. Rosemary was an artist and WWII Navy Wave, and a loving wife and mother. She was a vibrant, brave, witty woman renowned for her generosity, artistic talent, and sense of humor. Raised in Chicago, Rosemary showed talent as a child and went on to study fine art/painting at the prestigious Chicago Art Institute. Responding to Pearl Harbor, Rosemary ditched school just months before gradation, enlisted in the Navy and was one of the first females to train and deploy as a hospital corpswoman. The Navy Hospital in Mare Island, California, was the center for amputation for the Pacific Theater, and there Rosemary's talent, grit, and anatomical drawing skills were immediately recognized. She was tasked to document the new techniques in amputation that were being pioneered there by making detailed anatomical illustrations, live during surgery. She also drew the cartoons for the base newspaper. While serving on the wards, she met a handsome young Navy pilot recovering from a plane crash in the Aleutian Islands. He was Harry D. MacBird, and it was love at first sight. On dates in San Francisco in their dress blues, looking like Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, the couple were showered with free dinners, drinks and appreciation. Rosemary and Mac married and set up housekeeping first in Vallejo, then in a trailer in Daly City, and finally in their new home in South San Francisco where they raised daughter Bonnie. Rosemary was active in the PTA, and as a Brownie and Girl Scout troupe leader, where she continued with artistic contributions of posters, Spanish language flash cards, art projects for the scouts, and more. Rosemary and Mac's warm and welcoming home became the nexus for children's parties, barbecues, bridge tournaments, and ping pong games throughout the fifties and sixties. Rosemary designed and made Halloween and theatre costumes for her stage-struck daughter, and later returned full-time to her own art career. As a watercolorist renowned for her portraiture and figurative paintings, florals and nautical subjects, Rosemary won membership in the prestigious AWS and NWS as well as accolades and national awards. She was a top seller at Laguna's famed Art-A-Fair Festival for many years. Rosemary's paintings now hang in private and public collections nationally. She is survived by daughter Bonnie MacBird, son-in-law Alan Kay, nieces Carol Yee, Chris Simpson, and Claudia Simpson, and great-nieces and nephews including nurse Miranda Andrews, who for a time assisted Rosemary as her caregiver, John Eli Andrews, Philip Simpson-Yee, Eleanor Yee, and Amelia Dudley. Donations in Rosemary MacBird's honor can be made to "The UCLA Foundation," UCLA Health Sciences, Attn: Brian Loew, 10945 Le Conte Avenue, Ste 3132, Los Angeles, CA 90095, or to the ACLU, or to The Chicago Art Institute.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Jan. 27 to Jan. 28, 2018
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