Rosemary Byrd

rosemary byrd
Rosemary Byrd passed away at her home in New Hampton, IA on Thursday, June 4, 2020. Family and Friends are welcomed to join Rosemary's family for a noon luncheon on Sunday, June 27, 2021 held at Calkins Nature Center located at 18335 135th St, Iowa Falls, IA 50126. A graveside service will follow the luncheon at 3:00 PM on Sunday at Union Cemetery in Iowa Falls, IA with Pastor Dave Byrd officiating. Online condolences may be left at Memorials may be directed to Calkins Nature Area, One Vision and for Eastern Star Family, memorials may be directed to Iowa Grand Chapter Operational Funds by noting “Memorial for Rosemary Byrd.” Conway-Markham Funeral Home is entrusted with arrangements. Rosemary was born April 19, 1930, the daughter of Roy and Myrtle (Gosnell) Hilderbrand at her parents’ home in Van Nuys, CA. While yet an infant, her family returned to Goldfield, IA where she was raised with her three sisters. In high school, she played guard in six-on-six basketball and clarinet in band. In 1949, Rosemary received a teacher diploma from the Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls and began her teaching career back in Goldfield, teaching kindergarten and working at her parents’ restaurant. She went on to teach for the Mapleton and Jefferson school districts. It was while in Jefferson that Rosemary met her husband Charles Byrd. They were united in marriage on July 3, 1952 at the Hilderbrand family home in Goldfield. The couple made their home in Iowa Falls where they welcomed their two daughters, Deborah and Mary. After her girls were school age, Rosemary returned to teaching fifth grade, and later taught first grade. Education was always important to her and she continued her own education, receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Northern Iowa in 1980. Her favorite subject to teach was Iowa History and she made significant contributions to the Iowa History cross curricular instruction plan that was used statewide. Her life changed drastically when Charles died suddenly on February 26, 1987, but she took comfort in the time she spent with family, especially her four young grandchildren. After more than 40 years of teaching, Rosemary retired, but continued to care and think of each of her former students. In 2001 she moved to New Hampton to be near Mary and Luke and spend more time with her grandchildren, Elizabeth and Andrew. Rosemary will be remembered by many for always being ready to lend a hand or show up with food whenever she was needed. She will be greatly missed by anyone who had the pleasure of eating one of her famous pies. She firmly believed that pies should be cut into no more than six pieces and, to the delight of her grandchildren, that there was no such thing as too much whipped cream. She and Charles were active members of the Order of the Eastern Star, where she was a Past Matron. She was also a Mother Advisor of Rainbow Girls for several years. She was a member of the First Christian Church of Iowa Falls, where she taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School alongside Charles. Rosemary volunteered at the Christian Women United Thrift Store, the Senior Center, the American Red Cross, and the Scenic City Swim Team. She taught at Kids on Campus at the Ellsworth Community College during the summers. Calkins Nature Area was especially important to her and she was a member of the board for a number of years. In New Hampton, Rosemary continued to remain active, becoming a Girl Scout leader, volunteering and serving on the board for the Senior Center, and as a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. She attended the Methodist Church where she participated in Women’s Group and taught in their after school tutoring program. She loved Iowa college sports, and followed all three state schools since her family had ties to each. She continued to enjoy Eastern Star, traveling the state to attend events with Mary and Luke, and was especially pleased when Elizabeth and Andrew joined. She was preceded in death by her parents, sisters (Marjorie Whyte, Pauline Henry, and Rodean Frakes), and husband. Those left to cherish Rosemary’s memories are her daughters, Deborah Fisch (Katie Jacoby) of Des Moines and Mary Reicks (Luke) of Lawler, grandchildren Rebekah DeWild (Louis), Michael Fisch (Chelsea), Elizabeth Reicks, and Andrew Reicks (Sarah Galvin), and great grandchildren Henry and Irene DeWild, her nieces and nephews, and many dear friends.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Deepest sympathy to Rosemary’s family. I remember when she moved to town. She was very pleasant lady.

  2. We will miss seeing your smiling face and your big wave. You were the best neighbor we could’ve asked for and we are thankful and blessed to have known such a nice lady❤️ The Shekletons

  3. Such a wonderful loving person who always had a smile!! Your family are in our prayers❤️❤️

  4. I am so sorry for your loss, prayers of sympathy to all the family. Rosemary was such a sweetheart! I always enjoyed when she call or stop by the church to set-up meetings for the Eastern Star and we’d have such wonderful visits. I will miss those visits and cherish them. May God comfort you all and and always remember the good times. MaryAnn Diesburg

  5. One could always count on Rosemary’s help, no matter the concern. I’ll miss her quick smile and her enthusiasm for sports. So glad she was a part of my life.

  6. Our sympathy to Rosemary’s family. She was such a sweet and caring person. She will be missed.

  7. I have never forgotten Mrs. Byrd being my fifth grade teacher and I credit her for being a huge reason that I continued my education. Fifth grade was a difficult time fir me and she made things tolerable for me at school. She saw promise in me when nobody else did and she let me know. She was an amazing lady. Mrs. Byrd, you would be proud of me now as I am finishing a Master’s and helping others. You touched my life in ways you never knew.

  8. Sad to see this. I will never forget having Mrs. Byrd for a first grade teacher(and I am 32 years old now). She was so much fun. She is where I learned the terms “Malarkey” and “hoot and a holler.”

  9. Only wish that we would have had the opportunity to meet Rosemary sooner. Such a nice person. Our sympathy to her family.

  10. Thank you Joy. We appreciate your thoughtful gesture. Though not surprising, it is a joy to see how such loving memories and kind gestures at this time following the sudden passing of our beloved mom. Seems she was beloved by many. Deborah

  11. Thank you Joy. We appreciate your thoughtful gesture. Though not surprising, it is still a joy to see such loving memories and kind gestures at this time following the sudden passing of our beloved mom. Seems she was beloved by many. Deborah

  12. Thanks, Mark for your kind words! Mentioning “malarkey” and “a hoot and a holler ” brings back very fond memories for me. Mom often used those phrases at home. I remember the look on her face and her voice when a situation arose requiring a response with either of those phrases. In fact, sometimes people give me a bad time when those phrases and more are a part of my response. I didn’t even know that everyone didn’t use those phrases because they were just a part of our family conversations. Thanks again for stirring up some lovely memories for me. Deborah (one of Rosemary’s daughters)

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