Rosalys B. "Rosie" Wilson passed away on Sunday, September 13, 2020, in Peterborough, NH at the age of 89.
Rosie was born on March 28, 1931, the third child and only daughter of John George Buckles and Constance Opal Williams. She lived and attended school in Etna, Indiana, later becoming the first female President of North Webster High School representing the Class of 1948.
In 1952, Rosie received her BA in Education from the University of Indiana. While in attendance in Bloomington, she met William A. "Bill" Thorndike from Boston and they were married on June 13, 1953. During their marriage, Rosie and Bill had four children, and lived in the Boston area until the time of their divorce in 1976.
Determined to continue her education, Rosie ran a catering business from her kitchen to pay for courses at Northeastern University focused on educating emotionally-disturbed children. She earned her "Masters of Education" from Northeastern in 1973 and was hired by the Dedham Junior High School where she was instrumental in creating a newly-formed Special Education Department. Rosie was a valued and cherished member of the faculty there until her retirement in 1987.
Rosie was an avid bicyclist in the 70s and 80s. With her pedaling partner Anne Dunne, she toured Holland, Denmark, Germany, England, Scotland, plus parts of Canada and the United States.
While managing four children, two dogs, a full-time job, and countless other activities, Rosie met Roger B. Wilson, an ardent skier and father to six children. From that first moment, he became the love of her life. Rosie and Roger were married on April 18, 1980, living in Dedham, MA at the outset and then retiring to Grafton, VT seven years later. At 46, with Roger alongside, Rosie found a new enthusiasm for skiing. Ultimately, she and Roger skied all over the world, including France, Italy and Austria, Vail, Jackson Hole, Snowbird, and just about every mountain in New England. Skiing together cemented the two of them within the free-spirited community of the Drifters Ski Club in Jackson, NH, which embraced them as the beloved senior members of that organization for too many years to count.
In Grafton, Roger and Rosie purchased Bancroft, the Wilson summer home for generations, and immersed themselves within the wonders of small-town living. It was said that Rosie and Roger adored Grafton almost as much as they did each other.
Always in motion, in Grafton Rosie was a popular elementary school volunteer, was very active at the Grafton Historical Society and created the Society's artifact data base. Rosie took immense pride in the fact that she was elected Grafton's first female Town Moderator, a post she held until the time she and Roger moved to a retirement community in neighboring New Hampshire.
In 2006, Roger and Rosie Wilson were named "Outstanding Citizens of Grafton" by the Vermont State Legislature. "She has become a civic leader and a town historical guardian of incomparable breadth and vigor," the resolution read.
The 2006 move to RiverMead in Peterborough, NH, was a blessing in many ways. Roger's health continued to deteriorate, and he received great love and care there until his death in 2009. Even without the beloved other half of the "R&R" duo at her side, Rosie thrived as always within the RiverMead community. She played water volleyball, organized talent shows and tag sales, started a RiverMead chorus, taught Contract Bridge lessons, and organized tournaments. Her most recent enthusiasm was for croquet, where her children noted that even in her late 80's her ever-present desire to vanquish any and all opponents was omni-present.
Rosie is survived and missed by her beloved brother Jack E. Buckles of Eaton Indiana, her four children; William A. Thorndike Jr. (Sarah) of Sullivan, NH, Benjamin W. Thorndike of Boston, MA, Edward D. Thorndike of Benson, VT, and Katherine E. Thorndike (Edward Scott) of Nelson, NH, seven grandchildren, one great-grandchild, six step-children, nine step-grandchildren and six step-great-grandchildren. There will be a private family celebration of Rosie's well-lived life in Grafton, VT at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions in Rosie's memory be made to the Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter, Post Office Box 3053, Peterborough, NH 03458
To share a memory, or to leave the family a message of condolence, please visit www.jellisonfuneralhome.com