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Rose Marie GeistAugust 24, 1924 ~ October 19, 2017 (age 93)
Rose Marie (Rosie) Geist, 93, a lifelong resident of Ontonagon County, passed away Thursday (Oct. 19) after a lengthy stay at Aspirus Ontonagon’s Long Term Care Center.
Rosie, born August 24, 1924 to Slavo and Mary Ann Stimac, will be most remembered for working 44 years at all three incarnations of the Ontonagon hospital all the while making a most special impact with her dedication to charitable work in the community as well as aiding missionary work in Bolivia.
Indeed, her life spans a major chunk of Ontonagon’s history.
She and her seven siblings were raised on a farm off the Norwich Road on Stimac Road, where they came to understand the value of hard work. She was educated at what was known as the Norwich Road School.
Rosie started working in 1942 at what was then known as simply Ontonagon Hospital, located near what is now Miner’s State Bank. She worked as a nurse’s assistant and ward clerk through the hospital’s years in Maple Manor’s location and on to its current place on Seventh Street. In an interview with the Ontonagon Herald after her retirement in 1986, she recalled killing rats and stoking the furnace in the basement of that original building.
It was in 1946, Dec. 28 to be precise, that she married World War II veteran Otis (Odie) Geist, a Purple Heart award winner with the Army. Two years later, they gave birth to daughter Mary Lou. Otis passed away in 1968.
During all those years with the hospital, Rosie was making her greatest contributions to both her community and the world with her charitable work. She held rummage sales for many years, raising thousands of dollars for Ontonagon native Father Peter Chabot’s mission in Bolivia. She did volunteer work for St. Vincent DePaul’s and was a member of the St. Theresa Circle at Holy Family Catholic Church, devoting time and energy to many needed tasks. On top of all of that, Rosie sponsored two young men in their studies for priesthood.
Rosie spent her last six years in Ontonagon’s Long Term Care Center, serving as a bright light and inspiration to patients and their families in their final days.
Rosie is survived by daughter Mary Lou and husband Ronald Payne. They live in New Orleans and part-time in Ontonagon. Their marriage has produced Rosie’s grandson Eric and great-grandson Dante.
The only sibling surviving Rosie and is her sister Mary Ann Niemi. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
In addition to husband Otis, Rosie is also preceded in death by her parents, brothers Joe, Rudy and William and sisters Matilda, Stephie and Mary.
Services for Rosie will be at Holy Family Church on Monday (Oct. 23), beginning with a Rosary at 9:30 a.m., visitation at 10 a.m. and Mass at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to Holy Family Catholic Church or St. Vincent DePaul’s.
St. Vincent de Paul Society
122 Greenland Rd. Suite B, Ontonagon MI 49953
Holy Family Catholic Church
429 Michigan Ave., Ontonagon MI 49953