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Life Story / Obituary
Strong, determined, and loving, Roswitha Brewer lived a life rich in family and friends. A natural caregiver, Rose freely gave of her time and talents in the service of others. Whether nourishing people with her amazing German cooking or tending to their health needs, Rose was often the source of calm and confidence people needed. With decisiveness in her actions and generosity in her heart, Rose embraced each day as a gift and every person as a friend. In so doing, she proved an inspiration to all who were blessed to know her. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Rose will long be remembered and ever so missed.
Rose was born November 29, 1940, in Wiesbaden, Germany, the daughter of Karl and Heidi Thorn. Born during WWII, Rose’s childhood was deeply influenced by the challenges of the times. A spa town, nestled between the Rhine River and the Taunus mountains, Wiesbaden was both naturally beautiful and wracked with hardships. Between August 1940 and March 1945, the city was bombed by the Allies 66 times destroying many of the cities homes along with the lives of the residents. Despite the difficulties, Rose enjoyed the good company of her father who was a motorcycle racer who traveled throughout the country to race, and her mother, who was a housewife. While Rose joyfully donned braided pigtails down to the end of her back, she also faced harrowing moments like the whistling of an incoming air attack and a bomb landing in her front yard. Miraculously, it was a dud.
After the war, much of life was focused on rebuilding and creating a new normal. Rose met and fell in love with Roland Schoetzow, an American serving in the U.S. Airforce in Germany. They married in Wiesbaden and soon welcomed their daughter, Tammy, to their lives. In 1958, the family immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Michigan with Roland’s family nearby.
Eventually, Rose and Roland were blessed with three more children: Roland Jr., John, and Joan. A loving and decisive mother, Rose was set in her ways. Her children quickly learned that once their mother gave them an answer, there was no option to ask their father’s opinion, but they also knew their mother’s love for them was unwavering. Rose was a fabulous cook, taking great pride in her kitchen skills. Many of her signature dishes were traditional German foods from her youth, and her Christmas cookies were unrivaled. Over time, she taught all of her children to cook and particularly to do the dishes the correct way, always washing the glasses first!
Though Rose had wanted to become a pharmacist after graduating from high school in Germany, tending to her family and others became her passion. After moving to the U.S., she worked in factories for several years, before finding her calling as a caregiver. Rose worked for White Oaks Assisted Living in Lawton. She loved caring for the residents and, although she was known for the occasional practical joke, Rose was well-liked by her coworkers. Very loving and hardworking, the residents and staff at White Oaks benefited from Rose’s excellent care for many years until she retired.
A humble woman, Rose knew what was truly important in life; relationships and sharing in rich traditions. After Roland died in 1977, with natural perseverance, Rose continued to embrace life fully. In time, she found love again and married Edward Brewer. Over the years, she tried to teach Tammy how to speak German and loved playing horseshoes at family reunions. She hosted family cookouts and made annual trips to the Tulip Festival in Holland, always stopping to take in the wonders at Lake Michigan. Rose’s racing roots made her a natural NASCAR fan, and she sometimes attended local races at Kalamazoo Speedway. She tended her vegetable and flower gardens with signature care, and in quiet moments enjoyed crocheting. There is no doubt that no one hosted a more well-organized garage sale than Rose! Once her daughters became adults, she and her girls had a regular shopping day. Her love of flea markets and country music inspired several great trips with her sister to Branson, Missouri.
While Rose enjoyed her adventures away from home, including several trips to Niagra Falls, there was nowhere she’d rather be than with her family. As her family grew to include grandchildren, Rose welcomed her role as a grandmother with joy and honor. She helped with each new grandchild when they were born and was always willing to offer her wisdom and advice. Though the grandchildren learned not to test Grandma and that her stern “no” meant no, they also knew that she loved them all dearly.
Clearly, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Rose’s steadfast love and care. May we find comfort in our many sweet memories and the knowledge that we carry her legacy forward in our lives. With each German meal we gather around, Johnny Cash and Conway Twitty tune we sing along to, flea market treasure we celebrate, and Lake Michigan shoreline walk we take, we celebrate the many ways Rose gifted us. In these ways, we keep her memory alive and inspiring others as she so inspired us.
Roswitha Brewer, of Paw Paw, Age 79, died peacefully on May 24, 2020. Rose was preceded in death by her dad; her husband: Roland Schoetzow Sr.; her son: Roland Schoetzow Jr.; and her sister: Ingrid Tucker. Surviving are her husband, Edward Brewer; children: Tammy (Larry) Hamrick, JoAnn Schoetzow, and John Schoetzow; grandchildren: Michael Hamrick, Bryon Hamrick, Tara Hamrick, Jeff Rees Jr., Jason Rees, Cierra Schoetzow, Derek Schoetzow, Alishia Schoetzow, Andy Schoetzow, Cody, Schoetzow, Brandon Schoetzow, Kylie Schoetzow, and Angel Schoetzow; several great-grandchildren; her brother: Wilhelm Thorn; and many nieces and nephews. Private services will take place with burial at Maple Grove Cemetery in Mattawan. Visit Rose’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may read her Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign her online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society. Arrangements by Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M-40 Hwy, Paw Paw (269) 657-3870.