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Rosemary Weld Harris

January 3, 2020
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Former Tama teacher Rosemary Weld Harris, 84, late of Columbus Junction, died Tuesday, December 24, 2019, at the Monticello Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Monticello, Iowa, following a brief illness. Graveside services were held on Saturday, December 28, in Clarion.

Her two brothers-John Weld of Cedar Rapids, and Don (Lynn) Weld of Colorado Springs-survive her, along with eight nieces and nephews, several cousins and many lifelong friends. Her parents and husband James predeceased her.

Rosemary Weld was born April 24, 1935, on a farm near Clarion, Iowa, the daughter of David E. and Alice Carmichael Weld. She graduated from Hubbard High School, where she played on the small-school basketball team that famously fought its way to the 1953 Iowa state tournament.

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Rosemary Weld Harris

She attended Simpson College and earned her BA from the University of Iowa. Superintendent Ben Jones gave her her first job teaching high school English, journalism and Spanish. She had met only minimal requirements in Spanish, but Tama needed a foreign language offering to stay accredited, so she learned on the job. To hone her skills, and on her own initiative, she undertook further Spanish training in various institutes and fellowships, including summers in Argentina and Colombia.

In time she moved from Tama to a similar position in Ballard, Iowa, then relocated to a much larger high school in Hood River, Oregon. She received her Master's degree in ESL (English as a Second Language) from Oregon State University.

As many do, Rosemary eventually returned to her Iowa roots. She married Jim Harris of Columbus Junction and established a model K-12 ESL program there that received the 1987 F.I.N.E. (First In the Nation in Education) award, at that time the only ESL program to have won the honor.

She retired from teaching in 1996.

In retirement Rosemary thrived as part of a tap dancing duo that performed annually at the Iowa State Fair and was in constant demand as an event planner. Her deep interest in Iowa history led to research of notable Iowa women, whom she then portrayed in costumed monologues to civic groups throughout eastern Iowa. She also tutored ESL speakers in preparation for their citizenship exams.

Rosemary maintained friendships with many of her students and took great pride in their accomplishments. She attended several Tama High School reunions, most recently the Class of 1961's 55th, where she contributed beautiful place settings in appreciation of the class.

The family suggests memorials to Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors, www.iowajfon.org.

 
 
 

 

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