Rose Marie Sommerstad (née McDonald) passed away peacefully on Thursday the 25th of January 2018, at 89 years old, in Victoria B.C.
Rose was born on April 21st 1928 in Strome, Alberta, to parents James and Lillian McDonald (née Downey). She had an older brother, Frank, and a younger brother, James (Jimmy). The McDonald family moved to the Turner Valley area around 1930 and Rose and brothers were raised by the light of the flares as the oil industry began to develop in Alberta.
After school, the fiercely independent young Rose trained at Henderson Secretarial School, then held a series of office jobs, including at the Royal Bank of Canada. She then married her high school sweetheart, John Clarence Sommerstad, on the 23rd of June 1948, who was a great love and devoted partner for over 70 years. As newlyweds, they together bought a house and started a dairy farm. A few years later, the entrepreneurial couple went into the cinema business, owning a theatre in Innisfail, then in Turner Valley for several years. They later returned to farming in the Black Diamond area, which they continued until retirement. Their best years together were spent travelling the world, from Norway to Fiji to the Carribbean, but they maintained throughout their lives a heartfelt and strong connection to the land and communities of southern Alberta where they were raised. Later in life, they moved to Victoria BC, to settle on the coast near their remaining family.
Rose will be dearly missed by her husband, Clarence, and their own family: son Wayne and daughter-in-law Joan, daughter Debora and son-in-law Mike Linehan, and grand-daughters Tara, McCahil, Morgan, and Kelly. She was also very close to her surviving cousin, Beverley Scott, and nephew Gary McDonald. She outlived nearly all of her own generation of family and friends, bearing witness to an extraordinary era. Rose was incredibly intelligent, world-wise, strong, and forward-thinking, always tuned into the changing world around her.
Rose will be laid to rest in the Okotoks Cemetery, along with her parents and grandparents. A celebration of life for family will be held in summer 2018