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Rose Marie Sereno Duerr went home to Heaven on January 21, 2018. She lived on this earth 80 years. Her name was prophetic. The rose is the flower of love and Sereno means tranquil in Italian. Life revealed her to be a beautiful flower that grew deep resilient roots, who was calm in the storm, and a little bit prickly. She was a “doer,” who believed she could do anything with Jesus. Rosie was a survivor. As a child she knew poverty, loneliness and life without a father. Her mother worked nights in a steel factory. She faced cancer and heart disease. She had 5 different kinds of surgery over 35 years, numerous brushes with death, and endured a list of health challenges that read like a medical textbook. She even survived her husband Larry’s temporary obsession with the purported medicinal benefits of alfalfa sprouts and brewer’s yeast back in the 1970’s. Rosie didn't just survive, she thrived.
She was that little plant that grows in a crack in the asphalt that thrives in spite of little water, poor soil, traffic and trouble. In life, she sunk her roots deep into family and Faith, grew strong where God planted her, then turned her face to heaven and bloomed: big, beautiful blossoms full of color and scented of Paradise. She married well. Larry was as spirited as she. They were evenly yoked – like two wild mustangs pulling the same plow. Theirs was a good marriage, full of life and love. The furrow they dug together in life was deep and fertile, but not always straight. Rosie's prayer was to have a big family and a home bursting at the seams. God blessed Rosie with her heart’s desire. She raised her 6 children with love and encouragement. She taught them life, love, and corny songs. She was the dancing queen of the kitchen and the diva of the downstairs. Her home was both her passion and her stage. All her children still know the words to every musical ever produced. She stewarded God’s gift of family well. They know connection, love, and Jesus and so will many generations to come.
Rosie loved old movies, classical music and Original Lay’s potato chips in the yellow bag. She liked good coffee and bad jokes. She had nine lives but didn’t like cats. She tap-danced until nearly the end with her beloved girlfriends. She cried at births, weddings, parades and Hallmark commercials. She liked politics but not politicians. She loved to sew, but gave all of her work away to her family, friends and to the homeless. Conversation was about “you” before “I.” Her interest in the lives of others gave her the nickname “The Rose Nose/Knows.” She had child-like enthusiasm, loved children and never lost the ability to pray like one. Jesus was both her Savior and friend. She bore stress with grace and even in her darkest hours had empathy for the troubles of those around her. She loved watching Wimbledon tennis, the US Open and especially the Olympics. Rosie was the Napoleon of the picnic, party, and parade and she conscripted everyone she could into her army. She knew how to select a gift with care and deliberation and she knew how to receive a gift with gratitude and joy whether it was a child’s drawing or another year of life. Her table always had room for one more. She could rest comfortably in God’s hand, but could not sleep if there was a potato chip in the house.
Rosie gave her love, life and her heart to everyone around her. At the end, her heart was all used up. She left this world as she had lived: surrounded by the family she grew, prayer, songs of praise, songs from old musicals, tears, and lots of laughter. She lived 29543 days. Not enough for those of us who loved her, but the perfect number according to God's perfect plan. By now, Rosie has met her Savior face to face and has relaxed into the embrace of the strong arms that held her upright so long. A new Rose blooms in heaven. Well done good and faithful servant. If you knew her, please come and join us as we celebrate her life and legacy. If you didn’t, come anyway. We’ll share some funny stories, sing a few of her favorite songs and tell you about her Lord. You’ll fit right in and she insisted that we invite you to lunch.
Rosie was preceded in death by her loving husband of 59 years, Larry. She is survived by their six children; Laura and her husband, Chris Wieloch and their children Michael (Shannon), Patrick (fiance, Emily), Brian (Lauren) and grand-daughter Lucy; Greg and his wife Sharon (Micke) and their children Brett (Amy), Trent, Kelly, Scott and their grand-daughters Stella and Nora; Karen and her son Tommy, Renee and her husband, Greg Breitbach and their children Ben and Elena, Betsy and her husband Chad Borns and their children Mackenzie and Zach, Andy and his wife Jennifer (McGuire) and their children Annaliese and Samantha; her sister Patsy (Norb) Nowak and many nieces, nephews and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Leona Hansen and William Sereno.
Funeral service will take place at 11:00 am on Monday, January 29, 2018 at Appleton Alliance, 2693 Grand Chute Blvd. Friends and family may visit at funeral home on Sunday evening from 4:00 pm until 6:30 pm ending with a Prayer Service and also at the church on Monday from 9:00 until 10:45am. Interment will take place at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Appleton.