Obituary of Rosemary Clarke Rathgeb
April 8, 1923 – July 6, 2021
Rosemary Rathgeb died peacefully at home in Toronto, age 98. She is survived by many nieces, nephews and very good friends, including John Grant with whom she spent many joyous times together. The daughter of Desmond Arthur Clarke and Aline Paradis Clarke, Rosemary was born in Quebec City, grew up in the city of Montreal, and lived in Vancouver and Toronto.
After graduating from the Sacred Heart School in the United States, she obtained a BA in fine arts from McGill University. Moving to Toronto following her marriage, she took art courses at the Ontario College of Art and Design. In her youth she took up riding and figure skating, and during one summer trained in Vermont with a group of Canadians, one of whom was the future Olympic Gold Medalist Barbara Ann Scott. Inspired by her father, she took up golf at age 12, and was proud to achieve a 9 handicap and to win championships at Rosedale and Lyford Cay golf clubs. As part of a mixed foursome on the golf course at Murray Bay, she first met Charles (Chuck) Rathgeb of Toronto, then on brief shore leave from the Navy. It was love at first sight, and they married after a short courtship in 1946.
Life with Chuck was an adventure she embraced: she accompanied him around the world as he raced cars, boats, horses, and hot air balloons, for which she boarded the basket with enthusiasm. Golf was always their shared passion, and their homes in Toronto and Nassau overlooked the fairways. In addition to golf, Rosemary was an excellent bridge player and water colour painter. In a piece for the National Post, her doctor using a pseudonym for Rosemary, attributed her youthful appearance and fitness to her passion for painting and the arts. A fast walker, she left companions decades younger struggling to keep up with her. When she wintered in Nassau she enjoyed her daily walks along the beach, and painting by her pool. Her paintings of flowers were auctioned to support many worthy causes in Nassau.
For many years, Rosemary was a loyal supporter of Providence Health Centre and a formidable fund raiser – few could resist her appeals for donations. A Dame of the Knights of Malta, Rosemary’s profound faith was her guiding light and inspiration. Fortunate in life, she believed in serving others, and she was pleased to help Providence Centre in its expansion.
All who knew Rosemary will miss her radiant smile, her warm laughter, and her zest for life, and her pink dresses.
Rosemary’s family extend their thanks to Dr. Russel Goldman and the palliative team at Mount Sinai for their outstanding support and to her care givers – Ivy, Lumen, Noli, Nora, and Weng and Beth – for their devoted and extraordinary care. Special thanks also to Gloria for her expert management of Rosemary’s household and finances.
Memorial donations may be made to the Providence Healthcare Foundation, Toronto, Ontario.
Due to COVID restrictions the Funeral Mass will be private. Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.
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