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Rosella McManus PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 18:15

Rosella H. McManus had the ability to make friends with everyone, her family said.

“She had this quality with people, an empathy,” her daughter Kassie McManus said. “She noticed people. She always made them feel comfortable. She made them feel good.”

Her mother would take the time to help a mother who was frazzled by her children or talk to the people sitting next to her at the airport, she said, often turning strangers into friends.

And Mrs. McManus nurtured these friendships through the years.

“Every time the household was uprooted, Rosella maintained ties with those friends she had to leave behind,” her family said. “Everywhere the McManus family moved, Rosella found people she loved who also loved her.”

Mrs. McManus died Tuesday, May 9, at Zilber Hospice in Wauwatosa. She was 96.

She lived at her Port Washington home until the day before she died, her family said.

Mrs. McManus was born on June 2, 1920, in the Town of Fosston, Minn., the daughter of Fridolph and Esther Hendrickson Hirsch.

When she was a junior in high school, her father died and she moved with her mother and a brother to Duluth, Minn. She graduated from Duluth Central High School in 1938 and enrolled at Duluth Junior College.

When her mother moved back to Fosston, Mrs. McManus stayed with a family in Duluth. When that family moved to St. Paul, Mrs. McManus moved with them, enrolling in the nursing program at the University of Minnesota.

The bombing of Pearl Harbo r occurred right after she started her clinical training, and the university mobilized medical units to help in the war effort. In their second year of training, the young student nurses like Mrs. McManus were placed in charge of hospital wards.

“We worked hard and learned fast,” Mrs. McManus told her family.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1943 and was asked to stay at the university in its cadet nursing program to “make nurses out of the odds and ends of people who wanted to help with the war effort,” she told her family.

She taught members of the Army Nurse Corps, and enlisted in the corps in early 1945. She was discharged later that year, as the war wound down.

On June 28, 1945, she married Terence McManus, a Navy pilot she grew up with, in their hometown of Fosston, Minn.

“She adored him,” their daughter said. “I think my mom had a crush on him for a long time.”

After Mr. McManus earned his medical degree, the family moved frequently. Mrs. McManus was the family’s support team, establishing the household, raising the couple’s six children and volunteering in the schools and communities.

She also worked as a nurse, handling many assignments through the years. Her favorite was chief nurse for the children’s psychiatric unit at the mental health institute in Cherokee, Iowa.

Mrs. McManus also served as president of the Women’s Auxiliary to the South Dakota State Medical Association, was an active member of the League of Women Voters and a 60-year member of P.E.O., a philanthropic womens group that supports education for women.

She was a collector and a voracious reader who especially enjoyed reading to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In 1997, the McManuses moved to Port Washington from Spicer, Minn., to be closer to family.

Mrs. McManus is survived by her children Terry of Ann Arbor, Mich., Robert (Lee Anderson) of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Douglas (Vicky) and Kassie McManus, both of Port Washington, Michael (Nyla Knigge) of Sturgis, S.D., and Patrick (Mary Beth Johnson) of Omaha, Neb.; 17 grandchildren and at least 20 great-grandchildren.

She is further survived by her brother Stanley of Ventura, Calif., and sister-in-law Helen Hirsch of Bismark, N.D.

In addition to her husband Terence, who died in 2002, Mrs. McManus was preceded in death by her brothers Fritz and Alf, sisters-in-law Barbara Hirsch, Mary Jane McManus Yonda and Alice McManus; and brothers-in-law Edward McManus and Fred Yonda.

A memorial service for Mrs. McManus will be held at 5 p.m. Friday, June 2, at First Congregational Church in Port Washington. The Rev. Jeff Suddendorf will officiate.

Visitation will be at the church Friday from 3 p.m. until the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to First Congregational Church or Doctors Without Borders, P.O. Box 5030, Hagerstown, Md. 21741-5030, are suggested.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Eernisse Funeral Home, Port Washington.

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