Rosemary Shober spent her last hours on earth surrounded by loving friends as they recited the rosary together. She was ready to “fly away” as she had told her many friends and family. She peacefully passed away on July, 17th 2023 at Legacy in Gillette, Wy.
Rosemary was born to Martin and Rose Janousek on June 9th, 1931 in Gregory , South Dakota. She grew up as the apple of her family’s eye as Martin was 60 and Rose was 40 at the time of her birth. She was surrounded by her adult half siblings and older parents and freely acknowledges that she was hopelessly spoiled rotten as a child. She was raised during the depression thus bringing her a unique upbringing. Her father Martin, a Czech immigrant, brewed beer in his basement through prohibition to make extra income. This developed Rosemary’s fine appreciation for a cold lager which she enjoyed for the rest of her life. Martin taught her traditional Czech folk songs and she spent her young childhood standing on the bar in pigtails belting out songs to a throng of adoring South Dakota Czech farmers. Her reward for singing was a shot glass full of beer, which she chugged happily while smiling at her dad. She never over indulged, but she remained a fervent admirer of beer throughout her life, especially her beloved Bomber Mountain Ale from Black Tooth brewery in Sheridan.
Rosemary moved to Gillette in 1946 and graduated a proud Camel in 1948. She was soon off to nurses training at St. Joseph’s in Denver, Colorado. She had dreams of joining the Navy after graduation and traveling the world. She graduated in 1952 and returned home to Gillette to help her mom take care of her dad, and she never left Gillette. She started dating a handsome WWII veteran, Richard Shober in 1953 and she foiled his many engagement advances until he finally put a ring on her finger in 1954. It’s certain he didn’t get it done by challenging her to a beer chugging contest! They were married on a glorious June 9th day (also her birthday!) in 1956 in Gillette at St. Matthews Catholic Church. They had a long, loving marriage of 64 years. They had a wonderful life in Gillette but as with all lives there were peaks and valleys. They had four children, but buried two sons. They survived these tragedies by leaning on their Catholic faith and with the help and support of the St. Matthew’s parishioners and many friends.
Rosemary worked as a nurse for numerous Gillette doctors in the 1950s and 1960s, but her life and career really took off in 1967 when she started working for the Campbell County School District as a School Nurse. Rosemary absolutely adored working for the CCSD and she had a great career spanning over 20 years. She was especially proud of her stint as the school nurse at Campbell County High School starting in 1973. She loved being a Camel and really loved patching up and mentoring Camels. In the 1970s there was a famous Fritos television commercial involving a school nurse and the students at CCHS extended the commercial to their own nurse. If you needed a snack and some encouraging words, Nurse Shober’s office was the place to go to spill your worries and have a handful of Fritos. If you were a student in the Gillette schools in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, Nurse Shober was your mom, too.
Only her retired husband and grandchildren pulled Rosemary out of CCHS. She doted on her three grandchildren, traveling to their homes and caring for them in her own special way. She was always game for some type of activity, baking cookies for a tea party, watching them play sports or assembling a Lego set. In 2014, Richard was ready to retire from home ownership and they moved into the Primrose Retirement Community in Gillette. Rosemary was not so keen on this at first, but as always she quickly made new friends, endearing herself to the residents and staff at Primrose. Just like her high school kids, she gravitated to younger people as it kept her young. She especially liked the Friday “Happy Hour” at Primrose, where she could enjoy her cold lager and sing many songs from her jukebox-like memory. She had a knack for lyrics and songs and loved singing them.
After Richard passed in 2020, she moved into Legacy Gillette. The days at Legacy were not easy, as she lost her eyesight. Rosemary’s family would like to thank the dedicated staff at both Primrose and Legacy for taking such great care of “Nonni”.
Rosemary had many hobbies and interests in her long life, including her great pie and holiday bread baking, reading and singing, and going on adventures. She was very active in Community Theater after she retired, performing in many plays and musicals with her sidekick Richard. Richard and Rosemary were also excellent dancers; they took lessons throughout the 1960s and 1970s and they could “cut a rug” at dances, receptions and the occasional night out. But perhaps Rosemary’s greatest hobby and skill was her amazing ability as a conversationalist and listener. She was a professional, and her friends and family knew if they were driving somewhere across the USA, and needed to talk with someone to keep them awake, Rosemary was the one. She could easily talk to you for 5 hours and you didn’t need to do much, just let her go. She loved her iPhone as it kept her in touch with the many people in her life.
We will miss the calls from Nurse Shober and her ability to converse so lovingly and meaningfully to us all.
Rosemary is predeceased by her two sons, both named Martin Joseph. She is survived by her son Jeff and his wife, Dr. Deb Nalty, and daughter Beth and her husband Marty Huckins. She is also survived by her three beloved grandchildren, Dr. Rachel Shober, Sam Shober and Jackson Norberg.
A funeral mass is scheduled for 10am on Wednesday, August 9th at St. Matthews Catholic Church in Gillette.