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Rosemarie Woods, we miss you!

By Henry and Jane Stoever of PeaceWorks-KC

Rosemarie Woods, a member of the PeaceWorks-KC Board of Directors in 2014, died May 24 at age 71. Active in several groups in KC, Mo., Rosemarie attained a master’s degree in theater from UMKC in 2002 and had attended St. James Catholic School and Loretto Academy.

Highly political, Rosemarie was a long-time Democrat who resonated with the Green Party. She wrote a play for Women’s Equality Week several years ago, tracing women’s demand for the right to vote. Rosemarie’s employment included teaching at Baker University in Baldwin, Kan., and setting up programs at Science City in Union Station in KC, Mo. She loved taking her dog for long walks in midtown KC.

For the 2014 PeaceWorks fundraiser, the UNplaza Art Fair, Rosemarie gathered craft materials and taught children to make jewelry and other art objects at the Children’s Art Table. With friends in the Loretto Community, she participated in Stand Up KC rallies for $15 an hour and a union. Stand Up KC witnesses for justice at fast-food franchises and calls for a living wage for workers in all low-wage jobs, including nursing home care and home care.

Tamara Severns, left, and Mary Vincent and Rosemarie Woods pause for a picture in 2015 at a Stand Up KC event they participated in, along with other friends and members of the Loretto Community.–Photo by Alice Kitchen

The Kansas City Star published many of Rosemarie’s letters. In “Double Standard,” printed Jan. 7, 2016, Rosemarie wrote (in part): “Why do far too many white men feel powerful only when carrying a gun? … A 12-year-old African-American child is slain by police for playing with a toy gun in a park, but armed white men can seize a nature preserve, and the Feds stand down? … Sad that we, the people, continue to uphold one set of laws for white privilege and another for everyone else. Look no further than the prison industrial complex. This is not a democracy. It’s disgraceful and dangerous hypocrisy fueled by blatant white supremacy.”

That’s vintage Rosemarie, telling it like it is!

In “Arctic Drilling Wrong,” printed in the Star July 2, 2015, Rosemarie wrote: “Drilling for oil in the Arctic? … Too much of the life in the ocean is finding it difficult or impossible to adapt. Are these already distressed oceans worth another oil disaster? … If we destroy our waters, we destroy ourselves. It’s just this shockingly simple.”

Rosemarie and four other persons—calling themselves “the Fab Five,”—caught the traffic’s attention with their posters on Saturdays. Rosemarie’s friends write: “We will miss her presence at our weekly protests at Mill Creek Park every Saturday since November 2017. We will miss her insight and her knowledge of history in our common pursuit to be rid of Trump and his fascist policies. R.I.P., Rosemarie. We love you.”

Rosemarie Woods, left, and Alice Kitchen attend a march of Stand Up KC in 2015.

Many of Rosemarie’s friends were caught by surprise that she had died. Her death certificate, with words suggested by Jim Voelker, a friend of Rosemarie’s from childhood, notes the cause of death as “heart trouble.” Rosemarie had fallen down her stairs at her midtown KC home in March or April and injured one of her legs.  She herself called the fire department for assistance May 24 and was being taken to St. Luke’s Hospital while dying.

It is our loss to have no more high-energy conversations with Rosemarie. Farewell, friend!

—By Henry and Jane Stoever of PeaceWorks-KC

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Man hanging origame peace cranes.