Rosalie Bonner Ritenour

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Mrs. Rosalie Bonner Ritenour

May 26, 1936 – January 8, 2003

 

 

 

Born May 26, 1936 in the rural farming community of Unger, West Virginia, the
first of three children born to Eston and Jessie Cosner Bonner. Life in the
Unger community centered on a country store, post office, and a one-room
schoolhouse located between Winchester, Virginia and Berkeley Springs, West
Virginia.  Rosalie’s mother and father were teachers in a one-room schoolhouse where
Rosalie attended and received her elementary education through the
7th grade. She attended and completed grades eight through 12 in a
“town school” that was nineteen miles from her home. Rosalie’s early years were
occupied with school, farming, housework, and caring for her younger sister. She
continued her education at Potomac State College in Keyser, West Virginia and
majored as a Medical Secretary and Record Management.  Following college, Rosalie worked as a Medical Secretary at several locations, including Winchester Memorial Hospital. During this timeframe, she met and married the love of her life, Donald Ritenour, when he was stationed at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia. After Rosalie joined her husband at Quantico, Virginia, she accepted employment at Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, Virginia as Head of the Medical Record Department. After working two years in her chosen medical profession, Rosalie gave up her promising career
in 1959 to become a full-time mother with Denise, the first of her five daughters.   Rosalie was a member of the Bethel United Methodist Church and Woodstock
Eastern Star. During the early years of her marriage, she maintained an
expansive list of volunteer activities and positions that would stagger most of
us. During this period, she also held other volunteer positions in her church,
Navy Relief Society, Public Schools, and other community organizations. In 1972,
with pre-school children attached to her apron strings and teenagers to watch
over, she immersed herself in the “Order of Job’s Daughters International” or
“JDI,” an organization for girls 12 to 20 years of age.  Realizing that “JDI” had been created for herself and her five daughters, Rosalie began a journey that became a passion in her life. During the subsequent twenty-plus years, “JDI” presented her with unlimited personal satisfaction and challenges that were far beyond her imagination. Over the next thirteen years, she was elected to every “JDI” office at the local level. In 1987, doctors discovered Rosalie had a condition known as “multiple myoloma.” Although it remained dormant for most of the next fifteen years, it served as an omnipresent distraction and a constant reminder of her own mortality. Rosalie’s personal medical issues were set aside and she accepted an appointment as Grand 3rd Messenger for the State of Virginia. That
acceptance began a succession of state level appointments, including “Chairman
of the State Scholarship Committee” and nine successive appointments as Deputy
State Leader. Rosalie’s last official office was in 1995 that climaxed more than twenty
years of volunteer work with the youth of Virginia. In deference to her medical
condition and the urging of her family, she declined further appointments in
order to devote more time with her family that now included a growing array of
grandchildren. From her early teens to the moment of her passing on January 8,
2003, Rosalie’s life was committed to her family, church, youth, and
education.

I was privileged to know Rosalie for more than forty years before I realized
her inner strength which surfaced for a glancing moment during our Association
Founders Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. During a private conversation, she
warmed my heart when she commented about her children. She stated: “Looking
back, I know that raising children was never easy for me. When my first daughter
was born in 1959, I just lowered my head and went to work. When I finally had
time to look up, all of my daughters were grown.” An oversimplification . . .
perhaps…! I believe it was her way of saying that in regard to her children, her
commitment was total and nothing could have swayed her from that purpose… and
nothing ever did.

As a Founding Life Member of the US Marine Corps Food Service Association
Rosalie was an outspoken champion of our dream of a Scholarship Program of our
own. She provided much of the inspiration and motivation for development and
implementation of our first Scholarship, which honors Colonel William R. “Bill”
Lucius USMC for his role in the development of the Marine Corps Food Service
Program.

On September 8, 2005 the US Marine Corps Food Service Association formally
dedicated the Rosalie Bonner Ritenour Memorial
Scholarship
  as tribute to this magnificent, caring lady who
blessed us with her presence and touched the hearts and lives of all  who knew and loved her.