Rose Ann Cannon Gerstner peacefully departed this earth life on January 30, 2021 to a joyful reunion with her beloved husband, Dean, her parents, siblings and many other family and friends who have preceded her. We had her for so very long, but it doesn’t lessen the pain of her passing.
It is difficult to boil down the essence of a life in a few short sentences, but here goes… Rose Ann was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 3, 1923 the sixth of seven children to Tracy Young Croxall Cannon and Lettie Taylor. Her childhood was filled with happy times playing with her siblings and friends but she knew tribulation. She was struck by a car and hospitalized at the age of 4 and at the age of 12 she lost her mother. She lived through the Great Depression but had no memories of hardship. She just remembered that creamed onions were often the main course, cardboard covered the holes in the soles of shoes and an orange along with a small gift was standard Christmas fare.
Rose Ann grew up in a musical family, (her father was tabernacle organist and church music director) and enjoyed listening to the family orchestra in which all but herself and her youngest brother, Emerson, participated. Maybe they ran out of instruments (or patience) by the time they got to those two. She learned a good work ethic by having family chores which included cooking dinner on certain nights of the week with her sister Francis. She remembered that the main thing they cooked was a cheese soufflé. Apparently, it wasn’t all that well received as she recalls her Dad often stopped for a hamburger on his way to his Bishop’s office afterwards.
Rose Ann attended Jordan Middle school where she met a handsome and persistent young man named Dean, who would often stop by to see her on his way home from his paper route. She later attended South High School and went on to the University of Utah. She participated in a lot of the social activities of the time and was a popular girl with lots of dates. But in the end Dean won her heart and shortly after the outbreak of WWII and upon the condition made by her father, that Dean have his tonsils removed, they wed on May 29, 1943 in the Salt Lake Temple.
They began married life by spending their honeymoon traveling down to Dad’s naval posting in Texas in their Dodge coupe. It was very romantic except that Dad rented out a seat to another man going to the same place, so they traveled three across all the way. It was a metaphor for her wild and crazy ride through life. The Navy sent them to Florida to Radio school and their first child was born there. Mother loved Florida but family was in Utah so when the war ended, they returned home.
Dad began his business life and Mother was busy making a home, having more babies and keeping the burgeoning family well fed, nurtured, bandaged and loved. She was and is a master of keeping the family together. Raising a family in the 40s, 50s and on into the 70s was a challenge but she held us all together while also giving service to her church by serving as Primary President at ward and stake levels, Relief Society President and many other callings. Her greatest passion has always been her family and her God. Mother chose the role of traditional wife and mother and fit that role exceptionally well. She filled that role through service. She always put those she served first as witnessed by our family and countless others. Dad and Mother served two missions (Rochester, NY and Mormon Battalion, San Diego, CA) and have been an influence for good in the lives of many.
Dad, Mother along with Janet and Sara moved to Seattle in the early 70’s and Mother found a new life, a new perspective and new opportunities. It wasn’t all blue skies, but she met the challenges as she always did with a positive attitude and faith. She made life-long friends, found a new environment in which to give service and grew to love the people and place very much. She loved the beautiful flowers, the view of the Puget Sound and the abundance of trees and how green it was. She even enjoyed the rain and fog. She liked the energy of the city and enjoyed going downtown shopping and visiting Pike Place Market. She found new aspects of her personality there as she left the home to work and to serve. She became more assertive in her gentle way and more expressive of her desires and opinions. It was very nurturing for her and she loved her time there and returning to visit.
As grandchildren and great grandchildren came along, Mother served them with the same dedication and love that she has always given throughout her life. She is beloved by each one of them. Trips to Grandmother’s house were always welcomed. A good meal, special time playing, talking with and being loved by Grandmother were always included. Our family has gone through tumultuous times and Mother was always there: a calm, loving, gentle influence and we remain united. We love each other and enjoy being together. Mother was a shining example of forgiveness, love, faith, humility, patience, virtue, gentleness, kindness and service. There are many words that describe our Mother and none of them are negative.
As we watched Mother grow older, and her body deteriorate, her spirit never dampened for long and her mind and memory remained sharp. Her last years were painful but she never gave up trying to walk, to take care of herself (she was stubborn that way) and to still give service in any way she could. She did not complain, was patient, positive and always so grateful for anything we did for her. Thanks to Dr. Gottlieb and Valeo Home Health and Hospice, especially Becky, who were so good to Mother and helped ease her mind and body and to others who helped care for her along the way.
So, this last week when it became evident to her that her body was failing, she accepted it and went quickly and peacefully. It was an honor for each of us this last year to take turns spending a week staying at Mother’s serving and caring for her. We learned so much about her life, her stories, her humor, her greatness. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg. This is a woman of profound depth, great love, amazing zaniness and energy. I, for one, look forward to meeting her again when all that unbounded personality is unleashed. We love and miss you Mother.
Rose Ann is survived by a brother, Emerson (Colleen) Cannon, Brother-in-law Phil (Gini DaCosta) Gerstner, Children Lynda Banks, JoAnne (Ralph) Hawks, Barbara (Ralph) Lemmert, Howard (Patricia Murdock), Tracy (Pamela Pollock), Lettie (Steve) McLaughlin, Janet (John) West and Sara (Lynn) Koehler, 39 grandchildren and 104 great grandchildren.
She is reunited with her loving husband Joseph Dean Gerstner, her parents and siblings, Taylor, Melvin, Ralph, Judith, and Frances and so many others. Peace, love and joy Mother.
The Gerstner Family will hold a service at 11:00am on Thursday February 4, 2021 at the Holbrook Mortuary, 3251 South 2300 East with the family gathering one hour prior to the funeral.
Extended family and friends may watch the service via live stream starting at 10:30am at www. Holbrookmortuary.com and visit the obituary page of Rose Ann Gerstner. The Link will be at the bottom of her obituary page. Interment is at the Elysian Burial Gardens following the service.