Beloved widow of Lester Lee Gaither; dearest mother of Carole Diane West (Jim), Marc Edward (Janice) Gaither, and the late James Douglas Gaither; dear grandmother "Mama Lee" of Derek Wystan, Thomas Nathaniel, and Victoria Nicole Kloepper; our dear aunt, great aunt, cousin and friend.
Rosalie was born to William Lacy "Bud" and Dora Pearl Ladd, July 27, 1922, in Lutesville, Mo. She was the eldest of three sisters: Dorothy Sue East, Carole Mosette Stanley, William Alan Ladd, and Ramona Jane Rockwell. Near her third year, the family moved close to Houston, Texas, where her father was employed with Texaco Oil Company. She loved the community there, and always reminisced of that school system as her favorite. However, as Rosalie turned nine, the Great Depression took it's toll, necessitating a move back to Missouri, where hopes of prosperity and stability through the farm life were greater.
Rosalie was quite dedicated to her family, helping her mother and father raise her siblings, while at the same time working in the fields so the family could survive. She even had the honor of naming two of her siblings.
Her grandmother, Adeline Crites, suggested Rosalie stay with her in Lutesville, Mo., so that she could further her education- and Rosalie did. She had a passion for knowledge, and was particularly gifted in the arts, showing talent even as a young teen through her portrait sketching. Rosalie pursued this talent in earnest along with her other scholastic interests, later continuing on to become a teacher herself.
Due to her profound talent, Rosalie's father encouraged her to continue her studies in art, and somehow managed to gift her with the tuition for a semester at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1943 (part of the University of Chicago today). She stayed in a cramped boarding house with several other girls so that she would be able to live close to campus. She became quite familiar with the Trolley Streetcar System and enjoyed "high culture" in the city. Despite her short stay at the college, her talents were so profound that Rosalie's instructors labeled her a Master Portrait Artist. However, family needed her back home, and thus Rosalie returned to Missouri.
Rosalie set for herself a new goal of becoming an English teacher, entering Cape College in 1941. She completed her Teaching Certificate in 1945. After earning her certificate from William Mayfield College in Marble Hill, Missouri, the war in the Pacific ended. As the boys returned home from overseas, Rosalie was re-acquainted with Lester, and they were married in 1946. They wanted to be "high flyers", and were married at Texarcana Airport in Texarcana, Arkansas. Soon afterwards, they moved to Gary, Indiana, along with Lester's brother Verdell and wife, Jenny, as Lester and Verdell gained employment through the GATX rail company. Lester and Rosalie decided to start a family, and Diane was born there in 1947.
Not long after, the family moved back to Rosalie's homestead, where she taught all levels through High School at Greenbrier School. Three years later, Lester and Rosalie moved up to St. Louis, where Lester took a job at the GM plant, and Rosalie found employment with Merck Chemical Company. They lived in South St. Louis where their first son, James Douglas, was born in 1952. They at one time shared a duplex with Lester's brother, Verdell and family. Eventually, Rosalie and Lester moved to Oakland, Mo., and they were blessed with another son, Marc Edward, in 1958. The family was devastated with the loss of James Douglas in November, 1969.
Rosalie found much strength despite hardship, through her faith in Christ, and with the love of her spiritual community. She was quite active with Third Baptist Church, and also found much insight through private Bible study. Rosalie often taught Sunday School classes, and additionally served as a deaconess. She continued to be a livelong member of the Church.
Mom loved gardening, and provided a beautiful garden where she taught her grandchildren all the Latin names of the plants. She loved live instrumental music, and was a fine musician herself. She was a wonderful cook, and enjoyed perfecting her own versions of Julia Child recipes. When she was younger, she loved to take care of little creatures on the farm, especially her cats, her Rhode Island Red chickens, and her horse, Blue.
Services: Funeral service at Hutchings Funeral Chapel, 203 Bass St., Marble Hill, Friday, July 26, at 2:00 p.m. Interment Baker Cemetery, Marble Hill. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Salvation Army, Samaritan's Purse or Hagee Ministries. Visitation at the SCHRADER Funeral Home and Crematory, 14960 Manchester Road at Holloway, Ballwin, Thursday, July 25, from 4-8 p.m. and at Hutchings Funeral Chapel in Marble Hill, Missouri, on Friday, July 26, from 1-2 p.m. Funeral services will begin at 2:00 p.m. at the funeral home and burial will be in Baker Cemetery next to her husband and son.