Although her life was enriched in many ways, first and foremost in the life of Rosalie Zaborske was the unending devotion she had for her family. She was ever mindful of others and willing to serve the community she called home throughout her entire life. Rosalie was a true helper, supporter, and encourager where her husband and children were concerned, and although she treasured being a wife and mother she just may have argued that being a grandmother was the role of a lifetime. She was a lifelong learner with an insatiable thirst to discover new things and a zest for life that was contagious to all who were within her reach. A dear woman to many, Rosalie will be deeply missed and forever remembered.
Despite the hardship of daily living through the Great Depression of the 1930s, there was evidence that America was moving forward with the completions of both the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building in addition to the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There was also cause for celebration in the lives of a young couple from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as they were blessed with the birth of a healthy baby girl on March 22, 1933. Rosalie P. was the second of four children born to her parents, Paul and Rose (Somionka) Ehlert, and she was raised in the family home alongside her older brother, Robert, and her younger siblings, John and Mary Jane. Their home was located within a close-knit community where family and friends were always looking out for one another. Rosalie was of Polish descent with the Catholic faith engraved upon her heart, and it was through her selfless and community minded upbringing that she was greatly impacted for the rest of her life. Her parents owned and operated taverns on Brady Street on the Milwaukee’s East Side. Rosalie’s family was also of great importance in her life. From the time she was a young girl everyone liked talking to her as she was a great listener who was genuinely interested in what was happening in the lives of others. Rosalie attended St. Hedwig Catholic Grade School, graduating after eighth grade. She attended and graduated from St. John’s Cathedral High School in 1951.
Not to be forgotten during her years in school was Rosalie’s introduction to the man with whom she would write a love story that would span more than 60 years. He was a fellow classmate named Gerald (Jerry) Zaborske, and they became high school sweethearts. With a desire to gain knowledge about anything and everything and a love of history, Rosalie was not able to attend a four-year college, but was in the first graduating class of Spencerian College, a secretarial school. Jerry did go on to Marquette University, and she was instrumental in him completing his studies as she helped him by typing his papers. During this time she worked as an executive secretary at Schlitz Brewery where she continued to work for five years.
With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Rosalie and Jerry were united in marriage on August 11, 1956, at St. Hedwig Catholic Church. The newlyweds made their home at 1750 N. Humboldt Ave, which is one of the oldest houses in Milwaukee as it was built in 1846. Rosalie was truly content to be a homemaker while Jerry went on to teach. Soon the couple became parents to their son, Mark, in 1957 and later moved to North 49th Street. When their family was completed with the arrival of their daughter, Christine, in 1960, they soon moved to their house in Whitefish Bay that is still their home to this day.
From the moment she became a mother it seemed to be a role that was tailor made just for Rosalie as she fully supported her husband and children in everything they did and was an extraordinary homemaker as well. Her skills in the kitchen were fantastic with her sunshine cake and her breaded pork chops being among the family favorites. As a family they did not take elaborate vacations, however, Rosalie and Jerry invented “staycations” by doing things close to home, such as visiting sites and shopping in small towns throughout Wisconsin. They also enjoyed dining at many traditional family-owned restaurants in the area, such as Schreiner’s in Fond du Lac. Later in life her love and devotion was passed on to her grandchildren, and she was their beloved “Nonnie.”
While Jerry pursued his master’s degree at the University of Michigan, Rosalie took a position with NASA. Although she only worked a few hours a week her work was vitally important and top secret with information that she could not divulge for 50 years. True to form, Rosalie kept that promise.
Throughout her life Rosalie was always busy doing something. As a community minded person she volunteered at St. Monica Grade School, the Whitefish Bay School Health Department screening young children and as an usher at the Pabst Theater for 44 years. Rosalie took several classes throughout her life including classes in bookkeeping, home decorating, flower design, and many more depending on what she wanted to learn more about and using what she learned in her life. In fact, she was 42 when she learned to drive a car. Always resourceful, she found treasures by rummaging and applied her learned home decorating skills to make a beautiful home. An avid reader, Rosalie continued to read well into her sunset years, and she enjoyed the music of the forties and artists such as Perry Como, Nat King Cole, and Guy Lombardo. Rosalie was a fan of classic films, and after dinner on Sundays they usually watched a classic movie like The Third Man with their son.
Rosalie and her loved ones were given a tough pill to swallow when she was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2012.
With a life that was filled with countless rewarding experiences that enriched her journey, Rosalie Zaborske savored every moment she was given while making priceless memories with her loved ones along the way. She was always mindful of others and was selfless in every way with a family she viewed as her most priceless treasure. Rosalie’s timeless legacy will be proudly carried on by those who follow her.
Rosalie Zaborske died on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Rosalie’s family includes her husband, Jerry; children, Mark Zaborske of Whitefish Bay and Christine (Allen) Groh of Wauwatosa; grandchildren, Nicholas Groh and Marissa Groh; siblings, Robert Ehlert and Mary Jane (Alfred) Torcivia; sister-in-law, Lorraine Zaborske; and nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends. Rosalie was preceded in death by her parents, Paul and Rose Ehlert; brother, John Ehlert and sister-in-law Winifred Ehlert. Visitation will be held at ST. MONICA CATHOLIC CHURCH, 5601 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay, Tuesday, June 3, 9:30-11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial 11 a.m. Private burial at Wisconsin Memorial Park. Memorials appreciated to St. Monica Parish or Three Holy Women Parish.