Obituary: Rosemary Utzinger

July 8, 1927 – Jan. 28, 2019

Rosemary Utzinger, formerly of Fish Creek, died in Largo, Florida. She was born in Sparland, Illinois. Rosemary Dennis grew up in Farmington, Illinois, on a large dairy farm operated by her father and brothers. In 1946, she married Verle Utzinger in Farmington, Illinois. They had three children. Rosemary and Verle lived in many places as they built up their family and Verle’s career, finally settling in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. In 1978, the couple purchased a home on Gibraltar Road in Fish Creek, where they spent 28 wonderful years building, improving, gardening and enjoying their piece of Door County.

After her family, Rosemary’s greatest loves were painting and gardening. Wherever the family lived, Rosemary pursued her study of art and painting, along with homemaking and gardening. She was a founding member of both the DuPage Art League in Wheaton, Illinois, and the Door County Art League, serving in various positions in both groups. Rosemary owned and operated her studio and gallery from the couple’s home and followed her dream of becoming a full-time oil painter and teacher. Her paintings can be found in collections throughout the Midwest. In 2003, she was awarded a Door County Masters medal for her accomplishments as an oil painter.

She and Verle also enjoyed traveling the world in their later years, visiting much of Europe as well as Taiwan and Australia. Many of Rosemary’s paintings record the scenes of these journeys. In 2007, the couple relocated to Largo, Florida, to enjoy their final years together.

Rosemary is survived by her sister, Patricia Berei of Zephyrhills, Florida, and her sister-in-law, Helen Fortenbach of San Mateo, California. She is also survived by her children, Mike (Orchard) Utzinger of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin; Gina (John) Streeter of Seminole, Florida; Tom (Ngo Tam) Utzinger of Quy Nhon, Vietnam; seven grandchildren; and two great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Verle, three brothers, and three sisters.

Her family would like to give a special thank-you to Joanne Skidmore, who was Rosemary’s caregiver and special friend for the last five years of her life.

A longtime Door County friend, after learning of her passing, noted, “She was a very special lady with wonderful gifts who brought beauty to the world in her painting and her being.”

A memorial was held in Largo, Florida, on Feb. 1,  and a celebration of her life is being planned for July 8 in Fish Creek, followed by the internment of her ashes at Blossomburg Cemetery. The family will announce details at a later date.