Rosemary Ulmer McNamara, 77, of Brandy Station, Virginia, was promoted from her home to Heaven on Thursday morning, June 18, 2020. Her battle with multiple illnesses ended in triumph as she stepped into the presence of her God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Rosemary was born on October 17, 1942 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania to Paul and Mildred (Smith) Ulmer of Linden, PA. After graduating from Williamsport High School in 1960, she earned a three-year diploma at Practical Bible Training School in Johnson City, New York and then graduated from Williamsport School of Nursing in 1964.
While at Practical Bible Training School she became engaged to Roger McNamara of North Colesville, New York, a fellow student at the School. They were wed July 11, 1964 and four days later were accepted by Baptist Mid-Missions of Cleveland, Ohio as missionaries to South America. They served in Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, St. Vincent, West Indies, Canada, Liberia, Africa as well as in the United States before their retirement in 2018 after fifty-two years of missionary service.
Rosemary served through teaching children and ladies’ classes, being the church pianist for forty years, and by being a friend, hostess and counselor to multiple women, missionaries and pastors’ wives. She was her husband’s constant helpmeet and encourager.
She and her husband, Roger, had two sons: Shawn David (wife Chris) of Indianapolis, Indiana and Shane Paul (wife Ami) of Georgetown, Texas. Both of their sons are actively involved in church ministry roles. Rosemary had four grandchildren, Faith (with her husband Hudson Steidl), Bethany, Grace and Joshua. She also has two great grandchildren, Tessalyn Elise Steidl and Weston Taylor Steidl.
In John 14:2, Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you that where I am, there ye may be also.” On Thursday morning, Rosemary was escorted to her celestial home where the streets are paved with gold and there is no more cancer, no more blood pressure issues, no more pain or suffering, no more weakness, no more lethargy, no more stupor. She is home, safe in the arms of Jesus.
She was a good and godly woman, the example of what a mother and Christian wife ought to be. She never wanted to be in the spotlight but preferred to serve in the background. She had a godly parents and grandparents, uncles that were pastors, aunts that were missionaries, and multiple others that were deacons, teachers and church leaders. She learned to serve early teaching children’s classes at Anthony Baptist Church on Quenshukeny Road in Linden, PA.
At Bible School Park she was the girl that all the other girls sought out when they needed a friend or someone to listen to their fears, concerns and heartaches. She followed her husband to the mission fields of Latin America giving up the parents and friends she loved to live in a foreign culture with a language she did not understand. She struggled with the Spanish, but she didn’t quit. When she was laid aside with hepatitis shortly after the birth of her first baby, she endured without asking, “Why me?”
She packed up and moved from country to country, from one nationality to the next. She took on the dauting task of teaching her son at home. She loved the students at the Bible College in St. Vincent in the West Indies. Pearl was a special girl who cleaned our home and washed our clothes and did whatever was needed. She married a Vincentian pastor but was called home to heaven a few years later. Then there was Ma Forbes. She was the cook at the Bible College. A simple woman who loved being with the students as well.
For 35 years, while her husband taught in the School of Church Planting, Rosemary served as the unofficial “hostess,” the jack of all trades, the go-to girl who welcomed numerous missionaries, pastors, students and church planters from around the world. She greeted them, introduced them to the teachers, herded them to their meals and then back to their classes. She ran countless errands, made copies, coordinated and care for a thousand and one details that go into running conferences. Several people have referred to her as being “spunky” with a mischievous “Can Do” attitude. She loved to joke and tease.
For years, she would accompany her husband to executive meetings in Cleveland, Ohio and while he met in counsel with other field council representatives, she would be back in the finance office opening letters, sorting mail, and enjoying time with “the girls” in the Home Office of Baptist Mid-Missions. For a dozen years, she helped her husband organize and direct the North American field conferences held at Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa. They would be the first to arrive and the last to leave. They cared for room assignments, coordinated meeting schedules, and made sure food was prepared and ready for the hungry guests. She collected the dorm keys, made sure people who needed a ride to the airport had one, she checked the dorms to make sure the garbage was picked up, and was there when her husband paid the bills from those conferences. If you wanted to know something, you asked Rosemary. The days were long and demanding, but she met them with grace and kindness and determination.
She proofread thousands of pages of her husband’s writings. Letters, sermon notes, PowerPoints, nearly eighty editions of the Church Planter’s Toolbox, multiple book manuscripts, they all fell under her watchful eye and red ink pen. Her husband’s writings were better because of her and thousands around the world were blessed as a result.
Rosemary and her husband retired in 2016 after fifty-two years of missionary service, but they found retirement harder than active missionary service. A “servant” knows only one thing – to serve, and when she and her husband stepped down from full-time missionary service, there was a void. It didn’t take her long to find something to do. She loved to crochet, work her word search puzzle books, and served as the “gram dame” of the Classic Life Bible Class at her church. She was loved and looked up to by nearly everyone who knew her. Her ready smile, her attention to detail, he willingness to pitch in and help all endeared her to others.
Now, she is gone, but not far away. Her husband can hear the sound of her voice in each room of the house, her handiwork is everywhere. Her chair sits empty and her John Deere hat lies on the countertop to be used no more. We miss her, but she lives on in our hearts. She has transcended this life into an even better one in the presence of her Lord and Savior who she served. She now can breathe deep, run and jump with ease. But most of all, she loves to fall at the feet of her loving Savior who died to make it possible for her to be where she is. She leaves behind her a godly heritage. The world is a better place because of her. Her tombstone sums it up best and speaks so eloquently of her when it says for all to behold, “A servant of Christ.”
She loved plants and flowers, baking, crocheting, word search books, and going to Bible studies. She loved her husband of fifty-six years, her children and grandchildren, her church, her pastor, and her Lord Jesus Christ. She was an example of a godly woman. She came from a long line of godly pastors, missionaries, and church leaders and left behind a heritage of humble service to others.
Rosemary was predeceased by her mother and father, Paul and Mildred Ulmer, a baby brother, Daniel, and a host of aunts and uncles who served in various ministry roles. She is survived by her husband of fifty-six years, Roger, her two sons, Shawn and Shane, four grandchildren, two great grandchildren and a host of cousins, nephews and nieces.
The family will hold memorial services on Thursday, June 25th at 10:00 a.m. at City Light Baptist Church, 1121 Sperryville Pike, Culpeper, Virginia and again on Saturday, June 27th at 10:00 a.m. at Anthony Baptist Church, 4750 Quenshukeny Road, Jersey Shore, PA 17740. Burial will be at State Road Cemetery. The only viewing will be a private viewing for the family at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to Baptist Mid-Missions, P.O. Box 308011, Cleveland, OH 44130-8011.
An online guestbook and tribute wall are available at www.foundandsons.com
Final arrangements have been entrusted to Rearick Carpenter Funeral Home, 1002 Allegheny Street, Jersey Shore, PA 17740
Please feel free to share your memories and condolences with the family at www.rearickcarpenter.com
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