Rose Mary Van Bree West
Rose Mary (Draeger) Van Bree West, 91, passed away on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 at St. Clare Hospice House in Baraboo.
For the last several years she had resided at Oak Park Place in Baraboo with her loving husband, Jay L. West. Previously they had lived at Saddle Ridge Estates in Portage.
Rose Mary was a fun-loving wife, mother and friend. Her pride and joy was her family. She devoted her life to her five daughters as they grew up. Rose Mary was always volunteering to assist in their activities, teaching them to cook, and carpooling for their activities. Rose Mary loved to entertain and host gourmet dinner parties. She was always ready to go shopping and wear the latest styles. She became a color consultant and had her own business where she helped women select the right makeup and color of their clothes. Rose Mary also worked as a personal shopper. For activities, Rose Mary enjoyed tennis, golf, cards, puzzles and playing piano.
Rose Mary was born Aug. 10, 1925, in Milwaukee, to Richard W. and Cecilia K. (Weins) Draeger. They later moved to Racine, where Rose Mary attended St. Rose Grade School and Washington Park High School. As a child, Rose Mary was an avid checkers and jacks player, winning tournaments in the city. She also was a Girl Scout and enjoyed their activities and summer camp. Rose Mary received many scouting and leadership awards. After high school she worked for the Great Lakes Naval Base and in the Treasury Department at S.C. Johnson Company.
On April 16, 1953, Rose Mary married Kenneth G. Van Bree in Racine. They became parents of five daughters as Ken finished his master’s at Northwestern University and worked as the assistant hospital administrator at St. Luke’s Hospital. They later moved to Marinette for four years, and then onto Portage, all due to Ken’s job as the hospital administrator at Marinette General Hospital and president and CEO of Divine Savior Hospital and Nursing Home in Portage.
While raising her daughters in Racine, Rose Mary continued with Girl Scouts as a troop leader and serving on their board of directors. She was the city chairperson for cancer and heart disease drives, a member of the Catholic Junior League where she chaired many style shows. In Marinette, Rose Mary continued her scouting as a troop leader and designed a program for young girls to learn social skills and manners. While in Portage, Rose Mary belonged to the Portage Curling Club, Portage Country Club, Tamarack Tennis Club, Women’s Civic League and volunteered at Divine Savior Hospital. She co-chaired many dances for the Women’s Civic League and served as club president. Rose Mary and Ken enjoyed playing tennis, golf, bridge, curling, playing piano, traveling and spending time with their family.
Several years after Ken passed away, Rose Mary married Jay L. West on Oct. 6, 2001. They spent their time playing cards, traveling and being with their families. They lived in Portage for 13 years and then moved to Baraboo at Oak Park Place. Jay preceded her in death on Nov. 12, 2016.
Rose Mary is survived by her children, Sheila (Glenn Lubbe) Van Bree, Corinth, Texas, Penny (Tom) Bernard of Sun Prairie, Ann Van Bree (Jerry Hinz) of Baraboo, Margaret Van Bree of Barrington, Rhode Island, and Mary Claire Orenic of Manhattan Beach, California; step-children, Michael A. West of Fox Point, Karen Anne (Richard) Hebert of Chippewa Falls; grandchildren, Kurt Lubbe, Lara (Thomas) Bell, Kevin, Zoe, Lexi Bernard, Tadd (Angie) Wilson, Matt Nelson, Evan Van Bree, Christopher Orenic; step-grandson, Anthony Hebert, of Chippewa Falls; great-grandson, Beckett Wilson; great-granddaughter, Rayna Bell; sister, Rita (Clyde) Hedworth of Laguna Woods, California; sisters-in-law, Jean Draeger of Racine and Jean Draeger of Santa Maria, California; other relatives and many friends.
Rose Mary was preceded in death by her parents; her first husband, Ken Van Bree; her second husband, Jay West; her sisters and brothers-in-law, Cecile and Jim Gersonde, and Isabelle and Nick Comande; her brothers, Fredrick (Fritz) Draeger, and Richard Draeger; her brother-in-law, Keith Van Bree; her son-in-law, Dr. Christopher Orenic; her grandson, Tim Wilson; and her stepson, Peter West.
Visitation will be from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, at Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home (www.pmmfh.com) in Portage. A memorial service will be held at 3:30 p.m. at the funeral home, with Fr. Gary Krahenbuhl presiding. Private inurnment will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Carbone Cancer Center, Attn: Katie Williquette, 600 Highland Ave., K4/658, Madison, WI 53792-6164.