OBITUARY: Rosella Esther Holgersen

Rosella Esther Holgersen passed away on April 1, 2021. Rosie, which was her nickname since her junior year of high school, was a caring wife, sister, aunt and friend.
Rosie was born on Sept. 23, 1936, to Tobias and Lena Schmidt at Bethel Deaconess Hospital in Newton. She attended Candy Elementary School, followed by secondary school at Berean Academy in Elbing and Bethel College in North Newton, where she graduated in 1959.

Rosie earned a B.S. in Nursing in 1961 from the University of Oregon, and an M.S. in Nursing Administration from Columbia Pacific University in 1986. She worked for 46 years as a registered nurse and nursing administrator in Kansas, Oregon and Arizona, before retiring in 2005. One of Rosie’s most memorable experiences was working as a nurse in Haiti at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital for two years. She also loved being a member of the Women in Business Association in Tucson, Ariz.

Rosie met her husband, Otto Holgersen, in January 1970, and they were married in November of that year. During the 25 years they lived in Tucson, they hosted 30 foreign students in their home, usually for two semesters each, while the students studied at either the University of Arizona or Pima Community College. They enjoyed helping them with their English and with adapting to life in a new country.

Rosie and Otto enjoyed traveling abroad. They visited Denmark, Taiwan, Japan and China, always returning with mementos, which decorated their home. They loved sharing their memories and experiences.

Rosie grew up in the Mennonite Church and was baptized into the Christian faith in June 1952. She joined the United Church of Christ in Tucson on July 2, 2017. Her favorite hymns were In Christ There Is No East or West and Blest Be the Tie that Binds.

After Rosie retired in 2005, she enjoyed working in her garden, helping at her church and playing with her three dogs.

Rosie is survived by her sister, Miriam Claassen, brother-in-law, John Claassen, sister-in-law, Mavis Schmidt; one niece, Debi Vanwey and three nephews, Roger Claassen and Cheryl Martin, Bob and Shelley Claassen, and Mark Schmidt and Martha Rubalcava; two grand nieces, Olivia Martin and Jessica Zavala, and five grand nephews, Adam Claassen and fiancé, Bailey Herzberg, Kyle Claassen, Kevin and Michelle Claassen, Michael and Rita Mulkey, and Joseph Zavala; and last but most precious, one great grand nephew, Caleb Claassen. She was preceded in death by her husband, Otto, her parents, Tobias and Lena Schmidt, and her brother and sister-in-law, Harold and Verna Schmidt.

Rosie was loved very much by her family and she will be missed. We wish for her much peace in God’s love.

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