Rosemary S. Tripp, 77

RAYMOND — Rosemary Simmons Tripp, 77, of Raymond, died at her home on Monday, April 28, 2014, after a courageous acceptance of her diagnosis of lung cancer less than four weeks earlier.

She was born on Feb. 16, 1937, in Okemah, Okla., to Walter M. and Ozella Vica McHone Simmons. After her mother’s death at the age of one year, her father married her second mother, Dessa Caughern Simmons, who loved and raised Rosemary as her own daughter. Rosemary graduated from South Portland High School in June 1954, and would have celebrated her 60th high school reunion this summer.

Rosemary worked throughout her life in various manufacturing and service positions, including Raytheon, Elmside Restaurant, Raymond Food Center and Migis Lodge. While her strong work ethic was a fundamental element of her character, what most defined Rosemary was her strong commitment to and love of her family.

Rosemary married Charles H. Tripp in 1955, and they enjoyed 47 years of marriage before his death in 2002. Their family was the center of their lives, and she and her husband were selfless when it came to their children — always putting their own needs behind those of their children. Most significantly, they impressed upon their children the importance of strong values and of putting family first. Both while she worked and into her retirement, she lovingly took care of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, while their parents worked or traveled. Rosemary was very active in her children, grandchildren, and great- grandchildren's lives, and attended nearly every event in which they were involved, whether in Maine or out of state, including recreational, high school, and collegiate athletic events, dance recitals, drama and musical productions, and academic achievement events.

She was a recognized presence at events in the Raymond and Windham school systems for more than 50 years. She was the mom who could always be counted upon to make the best cookies, pies, or cakes to support any group in which her family was involved. There was no one who could put a delicious dinner together faster for her children, grandchildren, and their friends when they stopped by her home, and “no” was never an acceptable answer. Nor was it possible to leave the table with a “small” helping of any part of the meal. She had a way of making people feel important to her and a part of her family, especially when they were connected in some way to her children or grandchildren. Her children’s spouses and their families became her family too. Taking care of her family — whether attending performances or competitions, personally being there when grandchildren got off the school bus, making food, sending care packages to college, or ironing their clothes — brought her greatest joy and fulfillment. Creating and honoring family traditions, celebrating birthdays and holidays, and family camping vacations were paramount to her.

Rosemary was a committed member of the community and her church. During her working years, she was active not only in the schools, but also in the Raymond Recreation Association and the Democratic Party in Raymond. She was a member of the Raymond Village Community Church for nearly 60 years, and taught nursery school, supported missions work, and worked on church suppers. She was named an elder of the church in 2006, and she and her close church friends, Anne Harriman, and centenarian Muriel Yeager, were affectionately known as the “Golden Girls,” getting together for years every Sunday after church for lunch and shopping.

She loved to be out, visiting friends, going out to eat, or playing cards. She had a sense of urgency that was unparalleled, and always wanted things “done yesterday.” Music was a central part of her life, and her stereo could often be heard from several houses away. She was a talented baker and made special cakes and wedding cakes for friends and their families. She loved her former home of more than fifty years on Main Street, and could typically be seen on “her front porch with the beautiful pink flowers” sitting with friends and watching the life of the town pass by.

Rosemary and her husband embodied the values they taught their children — the importance of hard work, education, achievement, perseverance, and honoring friendships. Their legacies to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the blessing of a strong family and their unconditional love. Their lives symbolized their most important lesson to their family — that wealth is not measured by how much you own or how much you make, but instead is measured by the strength of your family’s love and commitment to each other and by your character.

Rosemary is survived by her daughters, Vicki Gordan, Denise Pulkkinen and Jacqueline Latham; son, Charles H. Tripp Jr.; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her parents; and an older brother, Ramon Simmons.

There will be no visiting hours. There will be a celebration of life service at Raymond Village Community Church, 27 Main Street, Raymond, at 12 p.m. on Sunday, June 1. Arrangements are by Hall Funeral Home, Casco.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Rosemary’s name to Raymond Village Community Church.

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