Rosemarie C. DeSorcy
Rosemarie Connell DeSorcy died unexpectedly on October 17 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She was the wife of Donald DeSorcy of Lambert's Cove; they had recently celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary. The cause of her death was complications from kidney failure. She was 82 years old.
Rosemarie was the daughter of Frederick and Anastasia McLaughlin Connell of Boston, and the granddaughter of long-time Boston City Councilman Philip McLaughlin. She was born on April 3, 1928, at her parents' home in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston. She graduated from Hyde Park High and then earned an Associate Degree in business administration at Bryant & Stratton Commercial College.
A child of the Depression, Rose lived by (and overused) the phrase, "Waste not, want not." She would have rather taken a bullet than thrown out anything of use, most especially food. "Be that as it may," Rose was an incredibly generous soul who loved to help friends and family, financially and otherwise, in very subtle and discrete ways. She was a shy woman who aggressively guarded her privacy. She had a wry sense of humor, and often summed up her perceptions of people or situations with one-line zingers. If she liked you, she fiercely protected and defended your good name.
Rosemarie's need for order was second only to that of oxygen. She attributed her almost visceral reaction to chaos and disorder to her being the ninth of ten children, seven of them boys, in a rowdy Irish family. "A place for everything, and everything in its place," another overused phrase, was right up there with the Ten Commandments in Rose's rules for conducting one's life. At her first full-time job at Westinghouse, one can only imagine the glee of the Efficiency Expert to whose training program she was assigned. When a stray Maine coon cat appeared at her door and adopted her several years ago, Rose announced her plan to train him to wait on a sheet of newspaper on the floor in the mud room to be groomed before supper so as to keep the house tidy. This was her first pet. Her family tried to gently disabuse her of the notion that a feline could be trained in such a way. Her family was wrong; she could impose her will even upon a cat.
From Westinghouse, Rose followed her desire to see other parts of the world and joined TWA as a stewardess. This was in the early 1950s when air travel was glamorous. "Air hostesses" had to be of a certain height, weight, and age, and were schooled to conduct themselves as (pleasant) runway models. Meals were served on real china, with cloth napkins and stainless flat wear. The stewardesses' uniforms were tailored.
Following this several-year adventure, Rose put her efficiency skills back to work and accepted a job at M.I.T., running the office of Professor Jerome Wiesner, then-Director of the Research Laboratory of Electronics. It was here that her beauty, elegance, and poise were discovered by inventor, physicist, and Polaroid founder Edwin Land. Mr. Land was revolutionizing photography and was seeking the face to present his new scientific developments in film. He found his model in Rose.
She met her future husband at the beginning of the Korean War. Her then-fiance drove Rose and her mother to visit her favorite brother, Davey, who was in boot camp at Fort Devens Army Base. Uncle Davey's bunk-mate was an irresistible French-Canadian from Vineyard Haven. Suffice it to say that wedding plans were altered.
Rose and Donald married in 1959 and moved to the Vineyard. A city girl to the bone, Rose had to learn to drive a car and recognize poison ivy. Fortunately, she was taken under the wings of several strong West Tisbury ladies including Annie Kelly, "Willie" Rogers, Marcelle Rogers, and Betty Cottle. They all helped her adjust to living "in the middle of nowhere." She could never, however, abandon her habit of dressing up when out in public. If you ever saw her in slacks downtown it was the summer of 1983 when her legs were covered in poison oak rashes and she couldn't wear her pantyhose. It goes without saying they were tasteful designer palazzo slacks.
An avid reader throughout her life, Rosemarie shared her passion by serving on the board of the West Tisbury Public Library for many years, and by tutoring young adults through the Vineyard Literacy Program. She was a stickler for grammar and rejoiced in finding errors in the works of famous authors. She loved bridge. She played a mean game of Scrabble and seldom skipped a day of completing a crossword. Rose never declined an invitation to dine out, and enjoyed the occasional Manhattan straight up. She and Donald made a fine pair on the dance floor.
Her loving nephew, Father Matthew McGinness, celebrated her funeral Mass. In his Homily, he stated, "As we all know, Rose DeSorcy was a tough Irish woman who did not suffer fools gladly. She had a sharp wit that kept you on your toes. In fact, I bet every one of us in this church has received a jab or two from Aunt Rose over the years. Rose also had a soft heart covered by very thick skin. She had an intense desire for justice, which made her anger flash quite visibly from time to time. She served her family with devotion. She was a woman greatly respected (and sometimes feared) throughout the island." Father Matt knew his aunt.
Rose was predeceased by her infant daughter Michelle; her sister Anastasia McGinness; and her brothers Ted, Phil, Tom, Bernie, Dan, Paul, and David. In addition to her husband Donald, she is survived by her sister Mary Powell of Gardena, Calif.; her daughter Josepha DeLay and husband Malcolm Harrop of Guelph, Ontario, and their children Dylan, Edward, Evan, Sandra, and Donal; her daughter Simone DeSorcy of Vineyard Haven; her son Leo DeSorcy and his daughter Katherine of Vineyard Haven; her sister-in-law Connie Connell of Skowhegan, Maine; her best friend of 60-plus years Ann Cooney of Randolph; and dozens of nieces and nephews. Her beloved cat Minou has been lovingly adopted by Marian and Simon Hickman of Lambert's Cove.
Rosemarie's funeral Mass was held on October 22 at St. Augustine's Church in Vineyard Haven, followed by interment at Oak Grove Cemetery. Many, many friends gathered from near and far.
Donations may be made in her memory to Island Elderly Housing Inc., Blueberry Van Fund, 60B Village Road, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or to Vineyard Nursing Association, P.O. Box 399, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.