Rosemary T. Hinkfuss, age 84, of Green Bay, passed away in her sleep in the early morning hours of Wednesday, March 2, 2016. Rosemary was born on September 30, 1931 in Lima, OH, the daughter of William and Marie Walsh. After graduating from St. John’s High School in Lima, OH in 1949, Rosemary earned a scholarship to Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee. For the first 2 years of college, Rosemary taught grade school in Spring Green, WI while taking college classes on the weekends before eventually attending class full time. Rosemary earned her undergraduate degree in education and graduated from Cardinal Stritch in 1954.
While at Cardinal Stritch, Rosemary met her future lifelong partner and husband, William Hinkfuss, who was a student at St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI. Bill and Rosemary were married on September 24, 1957 at St. John Catholic Church in Lima, OH and shared a rare, lifelong love. After marriage, the young couple lived in Washington, DC where Bill was attending Georgetown Law School and Rosemary taught grade school. While in Washington, Eileen, the oldest of their 6 children, was born.
Upon graduation from law school, Rosemary and Bill relocated to Green Bay, where they proceeded to live and raise their family for the duration of Rosemary’s life. In quick succession, Timothy, Paul, Mary, Anne and Christopher were born between 1959 and 1965. In between raising 6 children, Rosemary became involved in politics, first as a volunteer on President Kennedy’s 1960 campaign and later on several other campaigns. Rosemary then decided to run her own campaign and in 1974, she successfully ran for the Green Bay City Council and Brown County Board of Supervisors. She served with distinction on both until 1982. In 1988 Rosemary reentered the political arena by running for and winning the seat for the 88th Assembly District, which she represented until 1994.
In addition to her service through politics, Rosemary served on a number of boards. In 1980, Rosemary was the first female named to the Green Bay Packers Board of Directors, serving in that role until 2001, when she became a Director Emeritus. This role, which Rosemary cherished, combined her love of the Packers, service and the greater Green Bay community. Rosemary also served on the Wisconsin Ethics 2000 Committee for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the Premontre High School Board of Education, the Girl Scouts of America Board of Directors, the YMCA Board of Directors, the Founding Board of Green Bay Montessori and St. Mary of the Angels Parish Council and served as President of the Catholic Woman’s Club. Among awards, Rosemary received the 1991 Environmental Decade Award and the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Brown County Democratic Party. Another one of Rosemary’s passion was the card game bridge. Over the years, Rosemary thoroughly enjoyed playing bridge with family and friends and in tournaments around the country. Rosemary’s skill allowed her to achieve the status of Life Master of the American Contract Bridge League. Rosemary was also an avid reader and an enthusiastic member of 2 book clubs.
Rosemary’s years of public service positively impacted the lives of countless individuals. Rosemary gave tirelessly of herself to others, cared deeply about the plight of all individuals and strived to create opportunities for those without a voice. These values reflected the lessons she learned and the beliefs instilled in her in her early years during the Depression in Lima, Ohio. Through her actions, Rosemary provided strength and conviction for the broader Green Bay community, particularly those who would otherwise be unrepresented. Rosemary’s dignity, character, warmth, frankness and vision truly made this world a better place for all.
Through all of her years of public service, Rosemary always prioritized family. She was a fierce advocate for her children and a loving, nurturing and supportive mother, grandmother and wife. Politics and campaigns were woven into the fabric of her family, creating opportunities for togetherness and demonstrating the importance of winning and losing with grace and dignity. Rosemary was firm in her convictions, willing to push boundaries for the benefit of all; her spirit could not be quashed when convinced of the justness of her cause. Rosemary consistently provided a shining example of a life lived well and with purpose. Rosemary’s journey on Earth has now ended, but her legacy will live on through her family and the many others she inspired.
Rosemary is survived by her husband, William Hinkfuss; her 5 children: Eileen (Preston) Long, Timothy (Kathy) Hinkfuss, Paul (Sally) Hinkfuss, Mary (Andy) Collins and Anne (David) Perkins; 6 granddaughters: Sarah (Ryan) Zampardo and Katie Hinkfuss, Caitlin Long, Madeline and Marie Hinkfuss and Molly Perkins; 3 grandsons: Alex Long, Andrew Hinkfuss and Michael Hinkfuss; 1 sister, Ruth (Mike) Bruin; sister-in-law, Helen Hinkfuss; brother-in-law, Daniel (Enrite) Hinkfuss; numerous nieces and nephews and many other relatives and friends.
Rosemary was preceded in death by her son, Christopher Hinkfuss; her parents, William and Marie Walsh; 6 sisters: Jeanne Ann Parent, Eileen Finn, Pauline Lamantia, Janet Blust and Sr. Sally “Adrian” Walsh; 2 brothers, Rev. James and William Walsh; her father and mother-in-law, Albert and Emma Hinkfuss and several aunts and uncles.
Friends and relatives may call at NEWCOMER FUNERAL HOME, (340 S. Monroe Avenue, Green Bay), Sunday, March 6, 2016 from 3 to 6:45 PM with a prayer service at 7:00PM. Visitation will continue at ST. MARY OF THE ANGELS (645 S. Irwin St., Green Bay), Monday, March 7, 2016 from 9:30 to 10:45 AM. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11AM.
In lieu of flowers, a fund has been established at the Green Bay Community Foundation in Rosemary’s name.
Rosemary’s family would like to thank Rosemary’s many friends, supporters and followers who have bestowed our family with their love and support.
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