For the Love of Community

Born in Saskatchewan, Rosemarie moved to Salmon Arm in time to start school. She graduated from SASS, worked for a while, then married and raised daughters, Kathryn and Margaret. As a stay at home mom, she found many opportunities to volunteer. Once the girls graduated she reinvented herself in the workplace and continued to volunteer. Rosemarie loved working as the Salmar Theatre Manager for almost 20 years. She truly enjoyed the young people she worked with and embodied the Salmar philosophy of giving back to the community.

Family was Rosemarie Vennard’s life. But her definition of family was much larger and included her community and the various groups she belonged to and volunteered with. Her families included: Salmon Arm Minor Girls Softball where she served as President, coach, equipment manager and cheerleader to ensure girls of all ages had opportunities to play; the First United Church where she was counted on in many capacities; the Dove Rebekah Lodge with which she was a 50 year member, with time served in various offices; and the Senior’s Drop in Centre Society where she organized Saturday night Bingos for many years to raise money for community charities such as the SAFE House, Shuswap Search and Rescue, and Second Harvest.

Wherever a helping hand was needed, Rosemarie was there: canvassing for BC Heart & Stroke, Cancer Society and other charities. She helped with the Wendy’s Dream Lift team, the Salvation Army’s Christmas appeal, Churches Thrift Shop, the Library, the Hospital and the annual Rotary Auction. She also helped individuals who needed a ‘hand up’ by giving them a low-cost place to live in her home when they were down on their luck—single moms and dads, disabled individuals and students.

Her daughters praise her ‘great laugh, stubborn tenacity, faith in humankind, green thumb, compassion enough for ten people, her positively positive can-do attitude and her good intentions.’ They describe her as a ‘character’ in the best sense of the word–as someone who engaged with people, injected life into every event and loved getting people to participate and enjoy themselves. Rosemarie loved working with young people and remained young at heart by injecting humour and fun into her own life and all those she touched.

One of her passions included environmentalism—she started recycling more than 40 years ago, be-fore it became the ‘right thing’ to do. Continuing her Mother’s legacy of service and the pay it forward philosophy, Kathryn initiated the “She Shoe Swaps” sale in 2012. The proceeds from this one-day sale of gently used or new shoes, boots and bags are evenly divided between the SAFE Society (Women’s Shelter) and the Shuswap Community Foundation (Rosemarie’s Fund).

Rosemarie’s charitable works were like pebbles thrown into a lake creating interconnecting circles, enriching her own life and that of her community in countless ways. With the establishment of Rosemarie’s Fund, daughters Kathryn and Margaret have ensured that their mother’s love and commitment to community continues in perpetuity. What a wonderful tribute to a remarkable woman!