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ROSE FLORA KANGAS

July 28, 1924 October 27, 2018
ROSE FLORA KANGAS
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Obituary for ROSE FLORA KANGAS

Rose Kangas passed away at her home in Brookridge Heights on Saturday, October 27th, 2018 with her loving family at her side.

Rose Flora Forster was born on July 28, 1924 in Shoreditch, London, England to her parents Frederick William Forster and Rose Eva (Barker) Forster. She grew up in the Dalston and Tottenham areas where she completed her education at the neighborhood school. She always loved singing and amazed her younger sister, Millie, by knowing the full lyrics of songs they’d first heard at the movies the night before. She sang too, at work, first in a paintbrush factory and later as a seamstress. The sewing company played music and the girls sat at the machines, singing as they sewed. With her early earnings, in 1938, Rose bought a radio for the family to enjoy.

With the advent of World War II, the job turned to sewing uniforms for soldiers, as Rose and her family withstood the rigors of life in London during the Blitz. Soon, however, young women were required to take “a man’s job” and Rose became a double-decker bus conductress in Northampton where the government had sent her mother, sister and young bother to escape the bombings. Her father remained in London to fight the nightly fires. Since bus transportation took most people to work, Rose had to ride her bike three miles to town, in blackout conditions, to start work at 5 am each day.

While in Northhampton, Rose met her future husband, Elmer Kangas, an American GI, on a blind date. In his autobiography, Elmer wrote, “Rose was the prettiest girl I’d ever seen, and I still think so.” Rose and Elmer wrote letters to each other for five-years throughout the war and after, Elmer wrote her a letter asking her to move to Michigan and marry him. Bravely, Rose agreed, trading her city-life for new beginnings in the Midwest. They wed on March 22, 1947, at the Green Church, near Ontonagon, Michigan, where Elmer’s family had a farm. Elmer then enrolled in MSU under the GI Bill and Rose’s sewing skills secured her a job making car seats for the Fisher Body Company. Rose worked there until the birth of their first child, Ron, in1948.

Soon after, they had two other children, Debbie and Kathy. Rose was a devoted mother and stayed at home with the children until they were in school. She then worked as an Avon Lady, a health clerk and a sales associate at a clothing store. Rose and Elmer raised their family in Ontonagon, Michigan, and once their children had grown, moved to Marquette in 1972, where they loved to take walks together, especially around Presque Isle Park.

Throughout her life, Rose always made it a priority to stay connected with her family in England, traveling there multiple times over the years. Elmer and the three kids accompanied her via an ocean liner in 1961, spending a month with Rose’s British family. After their children were grown, Rose and Elmer made many trips together to England, also visiting Scotland and the French Riveria and traveling frequently within the United States as well.

The arrival of grandchildren added new joy to the retirement years. Rose liked to say, “Grandchildren are God’s compensation for getting old.” Her children and grandchildren will always treasure memories of Gram reading, baking and cooking, singing and dancing, playing with and loving them, and recognizing every occasion (big and small) with cards and letters. Rose loved to have photos of her family hung around her home, and people often commented on this and enjoyed hearing the stories she would tell to go along with them.

Following Elmer’s death in 2010, Rose moved to Brookridge Heights, where she made her home for the past eight years. She loved to listen to old music and to watch movies and television shows. She was a voracious reader - enjoying both classic and modern literature. She kept up her travel even in her later years, making trips to see her English family, catching up with her children and grandchildren in various locations and celebrating her 80th Birthday in NYC, revisiting some of the locations she first saw when she flew to the US to marry Elmer.

Rose loved quotes and song lyrics and always liked to share those little nuggets of wisdom with those she chatted with. One of her favorites (inscribed on a plaque on her wall) was, “The recipe for happiness is one full measure of kindness, a dash of laughter, equal parts work and play and a generous heap of love” and that’s exactly how her family will always remember her.

Rose’s family want to thank the Brookridge staff for their loving care of “Grandma Rose” and also the UP Home Hospice for their competent and compassionate care in her final days.

Rose was preceded in death by her husband Elmer Kangas as well as her sister Millie Dawson and brother Ronald Forster. She leaves behind a close-knit family including her son - Ronald Kangas of Brighton, Michigan and two daughters - Debbie (Dan) Vezzetti of Marquette, and Kathleen Kangas (Robert Guyon) of Pocatello, Idaho. Also, several Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren: Amy Vezzetti (David Orriols) and their children Biel and Pau (and a soon-to-be daughter yet to be named) of New York City, Ryan Kangas of Calgary Alberta, Canada, Julie Vezzetti (Ben Jonkman) and their children Edie and Jack of Marquette, and Amber (Clark) Wilson and their daughter, Ruby, of Plainfield, Illinois. She is also survived by a number of family members in London, England, including her sister-in-law, Joyce Forster, and several nieces and nephews with whom she has loved staying in touch across the miles.

A celebration of Rose’s life will be held on Wednesday, October 31st at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Marquette. Please join the family for visitation and refreshments from 2-4pm, followed by a funeral service at 4pm. The following day, on Thursday, November 1st, Rose’s burial will be held at Evergreen Cemetery in Ontonagon, Michigan.

Arrangements are being handled by the Canale-Tonella Funeral Home where memories may be shared at canalefuneral.com

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Marquette Public Library or St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Marquette, two of Rose’s favorite organizations.


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Previous Events

Visitation

Wednesday

31

Oct

2:00 PM 10/31/2018 2:00:00 PM - 4:00 PM 10/31/2018 4:00:00 PM
St. Paul's Episcopal Church

201 E. Ridge St.
Marquette, MI 49855

St. Paul's Episcopal Church
201 E. Ridge St. Marquette 49855 MI
United States

Service

Wednesday

31

Oct

4:00 PM 10/31/2018 4:00:00 PM
St. Paul's Episcopal Church

201 E. Ridge St.
Marquette, MI 49855

St. Paul's Episcopal Church
201 E. Ridge St. Marquette 49855 MI
United States
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