Rosemary (Rosie) Geary O’Brien

July 30, 1937 - January 20, 2016
Rosemary (Rosie) Geary O’Brien

Rosemary (Rosie) Geary O’Brien played her last act on January 20, 2016 — living 16 great years after being diagnosed with kidney cancer.
She was born July 30, 1937 in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, grew up in Point Edward, Ontario, and met her husband, David O’Brien, during a summer working and singing on Cape Cod. They were married nearly 30 years until he died in 1990, and for 22 of those years she assisted David after he went blind. She had a beautiful singing voice and, as a young woman, she was offered a chance to sing and act on Broadway, but stayed true to her calling to help children and be a teacher – a music teacher.
Rosie started out teaching in a one-room school house in Canada and had a lengthy career teaching in Toledo, Ohio – first at Cathedral, then in Toledo Public Schools, mainly at Raymer and Harvard elementary schools. She contributed to her adopted community in Toledo in many ways, including being Choir Director at Regina Coli Catholic Church for more than 20 years.
The joy of Rosie’s life were her two sons, both adopted at birth, and her two precious grandchildren. She said that being a mother was the greatest role she had ever played. After retirement she contributed to the Toledo Rep Theatre as an actress in roles such as Mother Superior the Reverend Mother in Nunsense, as well as summers acting at Utah Musical Theatre and Capital Theatre in Olympia, WA.
Later she fell in love with Hendersonville and moved here in 1998. She led Hendersonville’s Little Theatre and the Hendersonville Chorale, as well as being the “Cruise Director” for her friends at the Oaks Condo Community. More recently, she has been responsible for much of the entertainment at her home of Carolina Village Retirement Community, including singing for solo concerts and organizing Readers’ Theatre. Rosie O’Brien had a special gift of making everyone feel like they were the most important person in her life. Her charm, love and enthusiasm will be missed by all.
Rosie is survived by her two sons, Kelly O’Brien of Douglassville, PA, and Timothy O’Brien of Maple Valley, WA; granddaughter, Shannon O’Brien, and grandson David O’Brien; daughters-in-law, Brenda O’Brien and Victoria O’Brien; and brother, Peter Geary of Newfoundland, Canada.
A memorial service is planned for 3:30pm Friday, January 22, 2016 at the Village Hall of Carolina Village. There will also be a memorial mass at 10:00am Wednesday January 27 at Our Lady of Angels Chapel of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Hendersonville.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Four Seasons Compassion for Life at

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  • January 25, 2016
    ellen graves says:
    Condolences to her family. I am your old neighbor's cousin (Julie Geoffrion Peace). I remember as a child her playing the piano and singing. I also remember your parent's Ford Thunderbird convertible. I was in in awe of that car as a child. I will always remember her smiling face. My deepest condolences to both of you and your family.

  • January 25, 2016
    Gina M. Calcamuggio Bosco says:
    This magical, musical woman was a major light in my life and my heart aches at the news of her passing. More than an elementary music teacher--she represented a promise of everything music can be in our lives. Her blonde piano stood as strong, hopeful and warm as her voice rang out when leading us in a song. Her music room as inviting and exciting as the twinkle in her eyes and the hugs you could count on when you needed them. The lyrics to songs in her perfect, joyful handwriting graced the walls of the classroom and were as clear and easy to understand as the music she taught me how to read. I looked forward to her class like it was Christmas once a week. For everything pure and good that a child adores in a magical teacher---I say without hesitation that I loved her. She helped me find my voice and helped her students find so much joy in music. Thank you, Mrs. O'Brien, for the Rainbow Connection, for teaching us to "lift every voice and sing" and "thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing, thanks for all the joy they're bringing! Thank you for the music--for bringing it to me."

  • January 25, 2016
    Lorrie Herdman-Vermett says:

  • January 22, 2016
    stephanie hanel-seitz says:
    i was fortunate enough to be one, of many, students @ Henderson Carole. there was no one that would match Rosie'd enthusiasm, & winning spirit. Hendersonville, along with anyone that meet Rosie, will be as a great loss. god is welcoming Rosie in his gates. peace & love; stephanie

  • January 25, 2016
    Bill and Theresa Romp says:
    Kelly and Tim, We extend our sincere condolences to you and your family at this time of your mother's passing. My wife and I first met Rosemary when your father and I worked together for Francis I. Dupont. She was a spirited and talented woman. We're so happy to have seen her perform her memorable role in Nunsense. Our thoughts will be with you as you gather to remember and celebrate her life. May she rest in peace.