Dorothy Laskey Rose

Dorothy Laskey Rose died in the early hours of May 22, 2020, in Clayton, New Mexico, her home for the past 12 years. She was 75.

Dorothy was born Oct. 13, 1944, in Manistee Michigan, the only child of Walter Laskey and Phyllis (Sadowski) Laskey. A smart and compassionate woman, she lived her life with a glorious sense of humor, a keen appreciation for true style, and a rare ability to see and nurture the sparks of goodness in nearly anyone.

From an early age Dorothy wanted to comfort those who were hurting and make the world more just. She loved people and she loved words. Her passion for social justice led her inevitably to occupations in which she would be overworked and underpaid but able to do some good. She first chose to become a journalist, a profession in which she could use her love of words to give voice to those who had little opportunity to be heard and to shine light on those who were too often overlooked.

Following two years at Northwestern Michigan College she transferred to Michigan State University. While there she worked as a staff writer for the State News, the university newspaper. After graduating in 1966 she worked at the Ypsilanti Press, and then became religion editor at the Ann Arbor News. While there she wrote a compelling series of articles on volatile confrontations in the fall of 1970 between activists from the black community and local churches over financial help for the poor.

Her next job took her to Missouri as travel editor at the Kansas City Star. There Dorothy acquired her horse, Bones, and they performed with an equestrian drill team, which she enjoyed tremendously. Dorothy also enjoyed travel, but as work took her increasingly away from home, she realized living out of a suitcase was not what she wanted. She moved back to Manistee in early 1976 to work on her hometown paper. Since Dorothy's Karmann Ghia could not pull a horse trailer her lifelong friends Sharon and daughter Holly helped move her home. Sharon then insisted on introducing Dorothy to another friend, Jon Rose. Dorothy reluctantly agreed to meet him. She and Jon were married Sept. 17, 1976.

In the years that followed, Dorothy and Jon opened their hearts and home to their children Thom and Karen, and then to numerous foster children as well.

Dorothy continued to work as a reporter and award-winning editor at the Manistee News Advocate where she also wrote a long-running column, Kitchen Mixin's, which drew on her skills as both writer and cook. She co-founded and edited the Manistee County Sun Times, a seasonal paper promoting local arts and activities. She also wrote for the Manistee Observer, the Manistee County Pioneer Press, the Detroit News and the Grand Rapids Press.

After 30 years in journalism, Dorothy was ready for a new career. So she went back to school, earning a master's degree in social work at Grand Valley University. As a social worker she was employed by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in Manistee, and worked at the Fort Rosa Parks juvenile facility and in the Michigan Youth Correctional Facilities, which led to an offer from the Northeast New Mexico Detention Facility where she served as Mental Health Director until she retired in 2017.

Living in the Southwest gave Dorothy great pleasure. Some of her best loved childhood playthings were cowpoke outfits and miniature wild west towns. She embraced her New Mexico home with the same delight that she had for Manistee, showing off each town's best to any visitor that came by. Dorothy remained an avid MSU fan, cherished her Polish heritage, maintained a lifelong connection with the Catholic church, read voraciously, and enjoyed her adventures with Jon. She was a connoisseur of secondhand stores.

Surviving are her husband, Jon; their children, Thom Rose, of Clayton, and Karen (Jay) Benedict, of East Jordan, Michigan; grandchildren, Dominic, Ty, Brandon and Sharon; great-grandson Anakin; multiple god-children, foster children, cousins, in-laws and friends.

Because Dorothy loved horses, dogs, cats, and all troubled creatures, she found it nearly impossible to turn away any animal in need of a home, keeping her house filled with a long series of fascinating animals who adored her. If you wish to make a contribution in Dorothy's memory, we suggest Hearts for Critters, 4006 Chippewa Hwy, Manistee, MI 49660, an organization founded by one of Dorothy's longtime friends. You are also invited to celebrate her life by subscribing to a newspaper, or supporting an organization dedicated to helping at-risk youth, caring for animals, or improving justice and equality. Finally, there is no better way to honor Dorothy's memory than to be kind.

Please visit and share memories and or photos of Dorothy at www.weremember.com/dorothy-laskey-rose/5x6p/memories .


Published by Manistee News Advocate on May 29, 2020.
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