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Rosemary W. Losonsky

February 20, 1929 - February 12, 2007

2/16/07
From the Fairbanks News-Miner

Rosemary W. Losonsky passed away quietly at her home Feb. 12, 2007, in the presence of her husband, Steve, and daughter, Mary Ann.

Rosie was born in Tucson, Ariz., on Feb. 20, 1929. She came to Alaska in 1948 and fell in love with the winters. She met Jeff Studdert and Mike Agbaba who introduced her to dog mushing, and soon had a kennel of her own and was mushing all over the streets of Fairbanks. She won four Women’s North American Championship races (1957, 1959, 1966, 1968), the Fur Rendezvous (1957), and did not retire from racing until the early ’80s.

Rosie met her future husband Steve through dogs also. He brought a dog out to be boarded at her house while he returned to Michigan to attend school. They joined kennels and were married in 1954. They would train their dogs together by mushing the 30-mile trip to Old Minto where they had many friends. Together they raised two daughters, Connie and Mary Ann, who did not go into mushing.

Rosie’s first job was with Charlie Shrewsbury, working in his greenhouse. Later, she worked for the Co-op Photo Shop, owned by Bob and Libby Wescott, where she processed film and sold bouquets of sweet peas that she grew in the summer. She continued to raise, train, and race huskies. Occasionally, she wrote articles for the Daily New-Miner and the All-Alaska Weekly on dog mushing.

Rosie was also the bookkeeper for Steve’s masonry business and one winter worked for Carl Edgerton at the College Inn Grocery.

After retiring from dog mushing, Rosie worked with Maxine Stanley from 1985 until 1995 in Rep. Don Young’s Fairbanks office where she truly enjoyed helping people. Meanwhile, Steve purchased a gold mine at Hunter Creek outside Rampart and Rosie joined him there. She ran the cookhouse, operated the backhoe, planted the garden, did the laundry in a gas-powered washing machine, and generally kept everyone in line. Both at home and at the gold mine, Rosie was a wonderful gardener and surrounded her homes with flowers. Using Charlie Shrewsbury’s recipe for horse-manure tea, Rosie grew the best tomatoes in Fairbanks.

While Rosie didn’t get much chance to travel, she enjoyed it when she did. She traveled to Mexico, England, France, Spain, and Morocco. She was fearless in foreign countries and was game for anything, which made her a great traveling companion.

Rosie was a life member of the Pioneers of Alaska Auxiliary No. 8, where she met many old friends and made many new ones.

Rosie is survived by her husband, Steve; her daughters, Connie Grippin of Queen Creek, Ariz., and Mary Ann Pennington of Maple Valley, Wash.; grandchildren, Steven and Stephanie Doggett of Austin, Texas, and Nicholas and Joshua Pennington of Maple Valley; and her brother, Kenneth Worcester, of Tempe, Ariz.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 17, at Pioneers Hall in Pioneer Park. Please bring your memories of Rosie and share them with her family and friends.

Arrangements were by Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.


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