Rosemary Bosse-Faulkner, born April 6, 1924, in San Andreas, to Henry Bosse and Louise Sandoz-Bosse, passed away peacefully in Sutter Creek one month short of her 99th birthday on March 6. As a steadfast conservative her approach to life was to experience widely while choosing carefully before changing what she knew.
Born on the heels of the women’s suffrage movement, she would pioneer the new freedoms made possible, thereby contrasting her mother’s orientation to the needs of family and patriarchal husband, with her own, more cosmopolitan journey, which saw her transition from businesswoman, to professor, followed by public servant, bank director, world traveler and museum patron before returning to her roots as a rancher and finally storyteller extraordinaire. Nearing the end of life, when one finally becomes only their stories, her appreciation of history intensified.
Rosemary’s daughters, Judi Beard and Elizabeth Haughton, frequently drew on Rosemary’s expertise; much in the manner people now use their smartphones. Having reached their fifth decade they lovingly informed Rosemary that, Bosse or not, they represented a voting majority and sought a greater voice in their collective endeavors. Later, when pressed to identify a plant along the trail, Rosemary retorted that, as they were now the majority, she no longer felt obliged to make up answers to questions that stumped her.
Her passion for stories, historical and imagined, began while attending a remote, mountain classroom with as few as five students, and continued throughout her life as her pursuit of education led her to high school in San Andreas, followed by higher education in the Bay Area. After formal training and an apprenticeship as a beautician, she opened her own shop on the Mills College Campus, which she ran for 10 years before selling and taking up an 18-year appointment teaching cosmetology at Laney College. Along the way she attended UC Berkeley in San Francisco, receiving an industrial arts degree. During his first term, Gov. Reagan appointed her to the Board of Consumer Affairs for Barbering and Cosmetology.
A native of Calaveras County, she devoted much of her time and resources to the preservation of its history and the Bosse family role therein. As a past president of the Calaveras Historical Society, her passion project was to spearhead the creation of the Red Barn Museum, whose focus is the preservation of artifacts from the agricultural, mining, lumber and ranching industries in the county. Of her talents for organizing and getting things done she was known to scoff “Bosse by name, bossy by nature.” She deployed these same skills during 16 years of service on the Calaveras County Planning Commission and then again on the Jackson Planning Commission after she moved there in 2000.
In 1983 she wrote an extensive family history which chronicled her father’s relentless path, from landless emigrant, to assembling a ranch of over 3,500 acres along the South Fork of the Mokelumne River and its adjacent mountains. She was to observe that her father traded land like other men did horses, detailing dozens of land transactions for “ten dollars and other considerations,” presumably to keep the assessor guessing. There are also reminiscences of her mother’s domestic contributions of baked bread, barbering, sewing, churning butter, medicating the family, as well as how she employed passive resistance to end family arguments by singing loud hymns which would invariably silence the man who had changed religions and undergone a brutally cold baptism to win her hand.
She also provides rich accounts of such pastoral pleasures as working the land and offering hospitality to flatlanders seeking relief from urban life, much of which featured exchanges of the vaunted Bosse smoked meats in return for gifts of valley produce.
Survived by daughters, Judi and Elizabeth, many dear nieces and nephews, and a cadre of fast friends, Rosemary will be greatly missed. Following Rosemary’s stated wishes she will be cremated and interred next to her beloved father at the Independence Cemetery in Rail Road Flat. The family requests that donations to the Calaveras Historical Society be made in lieu of flowers.
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