Thursday, August 19, 2021
9:30 AM to 10:30 AM EDT
First Evangelical Covenant Church
1933 Tremont Blvd NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
First Evangelical Covenant Church
1933 Tremont Blvd NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
St Jude Children's Research Hospital
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Throughout her rich and rewarding life, Rosalie George was such a blessing to those around her. Although she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, she did it with grace, humility, and kindness. There was nothing of greater importance to Rosalie than her family, and she was filled with great joy to witness her family tree blossom to include so many loved ones who made her so very proud. With a servant’s heart, she cared for others through her role as a nurse for many years. Life will never be the same without Rosalie here, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their heart.
The 1930s brought us some of the most trying days we’ve faced as a nation as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. The farming industry was especially hard hit as there was also a drought that crippled our nation’s heartland for nearly two years during this time. Despite the trials around them, Leslie and Dorothy (Benton) Barnes were filled with great joy as they were blessed with the birth of the baby girl they named Rosalie Ida on June 9, 1932, in Belding, Michigan. As the second of four children, she was raised on the family fruit farm in Belding alongside her older brother, Norman, and her younger siblings, Joey and Nancy. As the oldest girl in the family, Rosalie not only had the same farm chores as her older brother but she also had responsibilities to help her mother inside the home.
Living on the farm instilled within Rosalie the strong work ethic that would remain with her for the rest of her life. At times there was so much work on the farm that she missed some social school events. Her family was very musical as both of Rosalie’s parents sang, and she played both the organ and piano. Her brother had multiple sclerosis, so at times she helped him get around by pushing him in his wheelchair. This may have been what inspired Rosalie to become a nurse. After graduating from Belding High School, she moved to Grand Rapids to attend nursing school at Butterworth Hospital, graduating in 1950 and ready to bring her dream to fruition.
Rosalie’s move to Grand Rapids proved to be a fateful one for her as it was there that she met the man who would change the course of her life forever. His name was Frederic Koster, and they especially enjoyed dancing together. Rosalie and Frederic married in 1953, and they lived on the Northeast side of town, primarily in the Northview area. Together they welcomed 3 children, Michael, Susan, and Barney, into their hearts and home. Once Barney was in school, Rosalie entered the workforce again, this time as a secretary at the school. She later worked in the high school.
Life with Rosalie was never quiet. She enjoyed both watching and playing sports, especially football whether it was watching the Lions, a college game on television, or children or grandchildren play. Rosalie and her family were all avid golfers, and she played golf all throughout her life. An outdoor lover, she also hunted and fished. Rosalie even hunted into her eighties and particularly enjoyed deer hunting but also hunted for both small game and birds. She was a great hunter using both a bow and a gun. Not surprisingly, Rosalie was also a great cook who was known to sneak venison into several recipes at times. Her pies were also fantastic, and her crust was second to none. As a family they made regular trips to the farm, and while there they often helped out with the chores or freezing fruits or vegetables. Weekends usually found their family at the cottage on Pettibone Lake near Bitlely. The whole family enjoyed hunting, fishing, and swimming at the lake. Although her marriage to Frederic later ended in divorce, she was forever grateful for the life they built together.
Later, Rosalie was blessed to find companionship with Frank “Jim” Bessey. She also welcomed his children into her life and did her best to keep the family united. Rosalie and Jim married in 1973, and she moved with him to Standale on the Westside. There, she took great care in tending to her yard and her flower garden. Golf was something that she and Jim frequently enjoyed together, and they traveled a little as well including trips to Hawaii and Austria as well as other trips closer to home.
Roslie returned to work as a nurse, spending several years as a surgical nurse at Ferguson Hospital. Nursing was always part of who she was, even when she wasn’t working in the field as she loved being a nurse to those around her. Rosalie took great care in being the family nurse, the neighborhood nurse, and a nurse to anyone else she could help while out and about. When Jim became sick, she retired so she could stay home and care for him until his death in 1997. A short time later, Rosalie began attending First Evangelical Covenant Church and joined the choir so she could put her musical talents to good use.
Brighter days were in store for Rosalie as she found love again when she met Alfred “Al” George. They later married, and they enjoyed the company of one another for the rest of her life. With a love for family, Rosalie also welcomed another six children and their families into her life. She and Al shared wonderful moments and also traveled the world together. Rosalie joined Al in his volunteer efforts, both with the YMCA and at church. They stayed busy together, and when not traveling or volunteering could perhaps be found attending the symphony, visiting with friends, or golfing. Both Rosalie and Al enjoyed being social and were there to support their children and their families. She had a way of calming down the little babies with her singing. Rosalie and Al were there to support their grandchildren in all their events and activities as often as they could.
Outgoing, friendly, generous, and encouraging are just a few of the words used to describe Rosalie George. She had a way with people and simply knew how to read them, especially when it came to building strong relationships with her grandchildren. Rosalie’s loved ones always felt uniquely loved, and she was happiest when surrounded by the ones she treasured. With faith as a cornerstone in her life, Rosalie exemplified what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord she loved. Deeply cherished, she will be forever missed.
Rosalie George, age 89 of Grand Rapids, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on August 13, 2021. She is survived by her husband, Alfred George; children Michael (Debbie) Koster, Susan (Ed) Sipe, Barney (Cheryl) Koster, Steven (Marlene) Bessey, Stuart (Debbie) Bessey, Karen (Keith) Middendorf, David Bessey, Nancy (Roy) Smith, Jim (Cindy) Bessey, Pam (Kim) Carlson, Mark (Joyce) George, Barb (Jim) Soet, Janet (Ron) Ziegelbaur, Gail (Brian) Adams, Greg (Tammie) George; many grandchildren and great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her brothers Norman and Joe Barnes, and by her sister Nancy McPheeters.
The service to remember and celebrate Rosalie’s life will be held on Thursday, August 19 at 11 AM at First Evangelical Covenant Church, 1930 Tremont Ave NW. Friends are invited to visit with her family on Wednesday from 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel and on Thursday at church beginning at 9:30 AM. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either First Evangelical Covenant Church or St. Jude Children's Hospital are appreciated. To read more about Rosalie, to share a memory or photo, or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com