MADISON - A bright light has been extinguished with the passing on Nov. 10, 2020, of Rosemary Kendrick, 80, of Madison, a sharp-eyed journalist, treasured friend, and animal lover. The cause of death was multiple myeloma, and she also had more recently suffered from progressive dementia.
She was born in Utica, N.Y., on April 24, 1940, the only daughter of Dr. T. Douglas Kendrick and Irene T. Kendrick. She had one brother, Douglas W., who sadly died in his young adult years from Agent Orange-caused cancer. She graduated from what was then Utica College of Syracuse University with an associate degree in office management in 1960 and then a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1962. She worked at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., for three years in the 1960s, then came to Madison to attend the University of Wisconsin and earned a master's degree in journalism in 1965. Her journalism advisor, Professor Bud Nelson, was so impressed with her master's thesis on press freedom during the Revolutionary War (and Rosemary's sharp eye for detail) that he urged her to turn it into a Ph.D. study for an academic career. But Rosemary loved journalism.
Joining the staff of The Capital Times in September 1967, she first worked as an astute and fearless reporter who covered city hall for many years, notably during several of former Mayor Paul Soglin's terms. Former Cap Times Managing Editor Phil Haslanger, now a retired minister, offered this delightful recollection about Rosemary: They were then the two reporters on Saturday mornings, staffing what was a Saturday afternoon newspaper. He related: "She had the feeling that the Saturday city editor and copy editors never really paid very close attention to her copy, so one day, in reporting on a story about overpriced furniture in a state office, she wrote about the couch where the boss regularly 'screwed his secretary.' As she expected, it made it past the city editor and the copy editor with no one saying anything until she flagged it before it went to the typesetters. The Saturday city editor was furious with her -- what if that had gotten in the paper? It apparently did not occur to him that he was supposed to catch pranks like that."
She moved to the copy desk in 1984 and brought her exacting skills to the art of editing, earning great respect from the entire staff for her sharp eyes and preciseness with the written word. She was chief of the copy desk until 1988 and retired in 2005.
Rosemary's delight in animals began with horses in 1970. She bought a beautiful Arabian and showed it for five years. That included sewing an elaborate Arabian costume for herself to wear during judging events.
Her next love was cats. She began breeding and showing silver tabby American Shorthair cats in 1972 and continued breeding for 20 years and showing for about 10 more years. She included a beautiful Somali cat, "Foxy," in her collection. She won numerous grand champion titles, plus regional and national awards from the Cat Fanciers' Association. Even though she worked a late newspaper shift every Friday night for many years, she would rise early on Saturdays to drive all around the Midwest to attend cat shows. She was secretary-treasurer of the National American Shorthair Club and editor of its quarterly newsletter from 1978 to 1993, and editor again from 1998 through 2002.
Rosemary surprised her friends when she decided to get a dog, Maggie, after ending her cat showing years. Maggie was an adorable Papillon and quickly became the love of Rosemary's life. Before Maggie died, Rosemary donated money to the Dane County Humane Society, starting the Maggie Fund, which pays for surgeries for shelter animals so they have a better chance of being adopted as a healthy pet. She subsequently had two more dogs: Dolly, a Papillon, and Sweety, a Pomeranian mix.
Her close friends became like family to her and she shared many lively dinners out, including several in costume at Halloween and wearing sparkly jewelry in the Christmas season. She was fiercely independent (turning down an offer of marriage in her 20s) and resourceful. She will be dearly missed for her infectious laugh, great wit, intelligence, cleverness and kindness. Memorials in Rosemary's name may be made to the Maggie Fund at the Dane County Humane Society or The Evjue Foundation.