Obituary: Rosemary Voight

November 29, 1940 ~ January 23, 2020

Rosemary Voight, 79, died January 23, 2020 after losing her battle to cancer, in Winter Haven, Florida.

She was born November 29,1940 in Waukegan, Illinois to Hannes and Lois Thorarinson. They lived on Washington Island, Wisconsin. As a child, Rosemary helped her father with just about everything that needed tending to on their homestead. She often reminisced how her father told her that she was “his best helper”, especially when it came to construction. Her husband, later, agreed with this, after years of home improvements or projects that they did. Her nickname in High School was “Blondie” for her beautiful hair. She was a High School graduate of Washington Island High School, Wisconsin. Where she met her soulmate, Philip Voight, when he took the ferryboat from the mainland of Gills Rock to play baseball during the summer leagues. They married in February 1959.

After she and Philip were married, they had their first child, Cheryl, also in 1959, they then packed up their belongings and moved to California to pursue Philip’s dream of owning his own restaurant – Phil’s Diner opened in 1962. In 1968, they had their second child, Brenda. They later, moved back to Door County to take over the Shoreline Restaurant in Gills Rock. There, they started one of the first commercial “infamous” Door County fish boils. Followed by owning The Viking Restaurant and Voight’s Supper Club, both in Ellison Bay. Rosemary ran and hosted the dining rooms, while Phil took care of the back of the house. She is remembered by many for her contagious smile and charisma, making anyone’s dining experience “a need to return”.

After several years of “snow birding” to Florida in the winters and spending summers in Rose’s favorite place, Crivitz, where she loved to garden and have yearly family reunions,  she and Phil became full time Florida residents, first in Homestead, then Auburndale. Still, they continued in their restaurant adventures, by adding Par’s, Flipo’s Subs and Dogs (four locations), Mr. PJ’s, Meg’s Café, and The Hampton Grill to their journey. Retirement never seemed an option for them. They loved it too much. Rosemary continued to work as a full time cook until her health no longer allowed it and she hated that.

Over many years of being a restaurateur, she met thousands of people and employed hundreds. She had a way of making everyone feel welcomed and valued. She was always open, always caring, always willing to lend an ear, give a hug, lend you a room, or help you in any way she felt she could. Her children, her employees, and even her children’s friends knew her as “Mom” or “Momma Rose” because they were treated as her own. As busy as she was attending to owning and operating the businesses, she always made time for family. She was at every sports event, every game, award, fundraiser, prom decorating, birthday, etc. Even when Cheryl became sick, she was with her through it all. Rosemary made herself available to ALL her family. If there was a want or a need, she was there for it. She was a caretaker of sorts. From customers, to friends, to family, she felt it was her duty to care for them; it was her calling. She left her mark on many and she is and will continue to be deeply missed.

She is survived by her daughter, Brenda Petersen (Myerin); granddaughter, Megann Tanksley (Dale); great-grandsons, Gavin and Jaxson; several brothers and sisters in-law and many nieces and nephews.

She is proceeded in death by husband, Philip; daughter, Cheryl; parents, Hannes and Lois; brothers, Kenneth and Theodore; and sisters, Mona and Janis.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the graveside service to lay Rosemary to rest next to Philip and Cheryl in Little Sister Cemetery has been postponed until the summer of 2021.

Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Rosemary may be shared with her family through her tribute page at