Rosemary Byrd, 90

Rosemary Byrd passed away at her home in New Hampton on Thursday, June 4, 2020.

Services are being planned for a later date. Online condolences may be left at

Memorials may be directed to Calkins Nature Area, One Vision and for Eastern Star Family, memorials may be directed to Iowa Grand Chapter Operational Funds by noting “Memorial for Rosemary Byrd.” Conway-Markham Funeral Home is entrusted with arrangements.

Rosemary was born April 19, 1930, the daughter of Roy and Myrtle (Gosnell) Hilderbrand at her parents’ home in Van Nuys, California. While yet an infant, her family returned to Goldfield, where she was raised with her three sisters. In high school, she played guard in six-on-six basketball and clarinet in band.

In 1949, Rosemary received a teacher diploma from the Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls and began her teaching career back in Goldfield, teaching kindergarten and working at her parents’ restaurant. She went on to teach for the Mapleton and Jefferson school districts.

It was while in Jefferson that Rosemary met her husband Charles Byrd. They were united in marriage on July 3, 1952 at the Hilderbrand family home in Goldfield. The couple made their home in Iowa Falls where they welcomed their two daughters, Deborah and Mary. After her girls were school age, Rosemary returned to teaching fifth grade, and later taught first grade.

Education was always important to her and she continued her own education, receiving her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Northern Iowa in 1980. Her favorite subject to teach was Iowa History and she made significant contributions to the Iowa History cross curricular instruction plan that was used statewide.

Her life changed drastically when Charles died suddenly on February 26, 1987, but she took comfort in the time she spent with family, especially her four young grandchildren. After more than 40 years of teaching, Rosemary retired, but continued to care and think of each of her former students. In 2001 she moved to New Hampton to be near Mary and Luke and spend more time with her grandchildren, Elizabeth and Andrew.

Rosemary will be remembered by many for always being ready to lend a hand or show up with food whenever she was needed. She will be greatly missed by anyone who had the pleasure of eating one of her famous pies. She firmly believed that pies should be cut into no more than six pieces and, to the delight of her grandchildren, that there was no such thing as too much whipped cream.

She and Charles were active members of the Order of the Eastern Star, where she was a Past Matron. She was also a Mother Advisor of Rainbow Girls for several years. She was a member of the First Christian Church of Iowa Falls, where she taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School alongside Charles. Rosemary volunteered at the Christian Women United Thrift Store, the Senior Center, the American Red Cross, and the Scenic City Swim Team.

She taught at Kids on Campus at the Ellsworth Community College during the summers. Calkins Nature Area was especially important to her and she was a member of the board for a number of years. In New Hampton, Rosemary continued to remain active, becoming a Girl Scout leader, volunteering and serving on the board for the Senior Center, and as a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. She attended the Methodist Church where she participated in Women’s Group and taught in their after school tutoring program. She loved Iowa college sports, and followed all three state schools since her family had ties to each. She continued to enjoy Eastern Star, traveling the state to attend events with Mary and Luke, and was especially pleased when Elizabeth and Andrew joined.

She was preceded in death by her parents, sisters (Marjorie Whyte, Pauline Henry, and Rodean Frakes), and husband.

Those left to cherish Rosemary’s memories are her daughters, Deborah Fisch (Katie Jacoby) of Des Moines and Mary Reicks (Luke) of Lawler, grandchildren Rebekah DeWild (Louis), Michael Fisch (Chelsea), Elizabeth Reicks, and Andrew Reicks (Sarah Galvin), and great grandchildren Henry and Irene DeWild, her nieces and nephews, and many dear friends.

New Hampton Tribune

10 North Chestnut Ave
New Hampton, IA 50659
Phone: (641) 394-2111

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