Cover photo for Rosemary A. Jenkins's Obituary
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1945 Rosemary 2023

Rosemary A. Jenkins

August 28, 1945 — February 15, 2023

Rosemary Aitken Jenkins passed away on February 15 2023, surrounded by her loving husband (Gary) and her two sons (Gary and Robb), following a courageous fight with cancer. She was 77 years young, living with her cherished husband in Rostraver, PA.

Rosemary was born on August 28, 1945 to Robert and Margaret (Naylor) Aitken in Monongahela, PA. She and her parents lived in Fellsburg, PA, where Rosemary lived a full, loving, family-filled upbringing as the youngest child and only daughter of three.

It was here in Fellsburg where she began the journey of her faith. A Christian and strong believer in Christ, Rosemary was active with her entire family in the Historic Fells Church which dates back to 1835. When the church moved into a new building in 1967, her membership and commitment to “The Lighthouse On the Hill” came with it. She was also a dutiful member of various church committees over the years and she remained a dedicated and active member of her phenomenal church family until her last breath.

Rosemary’s childhood days were full of love and fun. The hills and valleys surrounding their home on Aitken drive were full of Aunts and Uncles and certainly Cousins. She often said you couldn’t shake a stick without hitting an Aitken or Naylor! Plus her two older brothers, Lee and Dean, were a constant source of adventure for her…and sometimes good old shenanigans! Most of her cherished early memories involve family in some way and seemed to center on her Uncle Walt’s farm where the kids would end up one way or another. Never far from Lee and Dean, she often reminded us often how loved and protected she felt when they were near. No one messed around with Rosemary, or one of the boys would be paying them an unpleasant visit.

By the time Rosemary was in Rostraver High School, she was involved in multiple activities both in her church and in school. She even played the Xylophone in the marching band. She studied hard though and had her sights set on going to college one day.

Mission accomplished--after graduating from Rostraver High School in 1963, she went on to study at Robert Morris College, receiving her Associates Degree.

Fresh out of college, she took a courageous step and moved away from home. Against her Mother’s wishes…she moved to Washington DC and accepted a job working as a secretary and office manager for a Lawyer supporting the IRS. Rosemary loved the opportunity and enjoyed the challenges of the job. She was happy. This small-town girl flourished both professionally and socially in the big city. She never forgot where she was from though and often made the trek home to be close to those who most important to her—her family.

In 1966, Rosemary met the love of her life, her big strong Marine, Gary, on a blind double date. He was on a date with her friend, and she was on a date with his friend. They both knew right away they were with the wrong person…and soon after their courtship began. She took his breath away from the first moment and they never looked back. They wed February 10, 1968 and soon welcomed their sons, Gary Dean Jenkins II (1969) and Robert Charles Jenkins (1971).

Gary II was born in California near Camp Pendleton where her husband was stationed at the time. Around a month after Gary II was born, Gary, the Marine, was to be deployed again to serve in Viet Nam. They decided it would be better for Rosemary and their baby if they returned to Fellsburg, PA to live with her family while he was gone during his year-long deployment.

What happens next in Rosemary’s life is a shining example of her character, devotion to family, and testament to the adherence to her faith and her wedding vows. During this, his second deployment to Vietnam, Gary suffered a severe and life-changing injury. His spine was severed and he returned home without the use of his legs. History now shows us the staggering divorce rate for Servicemen/women coming home from Viet Nam. The numbers are heartbreakingly worse for those returning home in some way physically different than when they left. Most wives simply chose to leave the situation. Not Rosemary. Not for a minute did she entertain the idea. She knew he would need her. She made a commitment…for better or for worse, in sickness and in health…and she meant those words when she said them, and she did the only thing she knew …she leaned forward with overflowing love in her heart and helped him through the darkest days of his life…and then every day since then.

The family decided to stay near Fellsburg, PA after Gary recovered from his wounds and was honorably discharged from the USMC. Rosemary knew she’d need help and being where the entire family could wrap their arms around them was the right move and they decided to build a house and settle down.

While the new house was being built, Rosemary welcomed their second son, Robert, to the family in 1971. The young family settled into their new home in December of the same year and remains the family home to this day. Her boys were raised, like she was, surrounded by Aunts and Uncles, loads of cousins, and of course their church family. She ensured they were raised surrounded by people of strong character, pure hearts, and unconditional love. One of Rosemary’s proudest accomplishment is raising two highly educated and accomplished men with unquestioned work ethic, strong character, pure heart, who know they are loved and are able and willing to give love in return.

Rosemary was a force of nature with her capable and quiet ways. Headstrong, loyal, giving, loving--in equal parts. Rosemary was the resolute moral compass of the family and like the family who raised her, she taught her boys the value of the family name and the value of their word. “Remember who you are and where you came from,” “Remember, your word means something…never go back on your word”—messages she would lovingly repeat at the right time.

Soon after Robb graduated High School in 1989, Rosemary and Gary began their annual trip south to Florida where they would become Snowbirds enjoying the warm Florida weather. This would continue 30+ years where they were able to forge incredible friendships along the way. When they first started heading South, they were the youngest (by far) of their friend group. As time passed, those older friends needed more and more help. Not surprisingly, Rosemary stepped right in and supplied whatever love, kindness, help…whatever they needed. When they finally sold their Florida home in 2022, they were still younger than many of their remaining friends and Rosemary was still leading the charge to help those who needed it. It would not surprise anyone that Rosemary was worried who would help these people once she left. To say that Rosemary is known, loved, and appreciated is truly an understatement.

She fully enjoyed what she did and those she met in her days. She made the time to show up for everyone who reached out, providing caring, trustworthy, and a listening ear always. She simply wanted to brighten lives in her days and that she surely did. She even made a point to attend every one of her son’s many games, no matter the weather or how far the drive was—she was always there cheering on the Team and looking after her boys.

Anyone who knew Rosemary knew that she was the most loving wife, mother, sibling, daughter, and cousin a family could ask for. She shared this same love with her church family and community of friends. Peace and caring permeated her, and loyalty to both family and friends alike, loyalty felt like it was her middle name. We know most families will say the same thing but to those who knew Rosemary…we know that this is the truth.

She is survived by her devoted husband, Gary; sons, Gary (Valerie) Jenkins of Virginia and Robb (Heather) Jenkins of Rostraver; three beloved grandchildren, Madeline, Dean, and Hattie Rose; her brother, Dean (Cindi)Aitken of Indiana; sister-in-law, Pauline Aitken of Rostraver; as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.

In addition to her parents, Rosemary was preceded in death by her brother, Lee Aitken.

Friends will be received on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. in the James C. Stump Funeral Home Inc., 580 Circle Drive, Rostraver Township (724-929-7934) www.jamesstumpfuneralhome.com where a Funeral Service will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. with Rev. Zack Bohinski officiating. Interment will follow in Fells Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Fells United Methodist Church, 1268 Fellsburg Road, Rostraver, PA 15012.



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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, February 17, 2023

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

James C. Stump Funeral Home Inc.

580 Circle Drive, Belle Vernon, PA 15012

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Service

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

James C. Stump Funeral Home Inc.

580 Circle Drive, Belle Vernon, PA 15012

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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