Rosalie Ranker celebrating milestone 90th birthday

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Rosalie Ranker will celebrate her 90th birthday March 3. She was born Rosalie Panzer on March 3, 1928 to Frank and Rosalie (Bohl) Panzer. She was one of 10 siblings born to the family, two babies did not survive the times. The siblings she grew up with were Adeline, Viola, Gilbert (Gibb), LaVern, Frank, Mae and Edith. She was the second youngest.

When Rosalie was two-years-old, her father passed away from a heart attack, while her mom was pregnant with the youngest sister, Edith. Edith and Rosalie would ask the older siblings why they didn’t have a dad, but no one would talk about it. The two would sit behind the barn and talk about why they didn’t have a dad and why no one would talk about it. At six-years-old, Edith passed away from polio, upon which, Rosalie says, caused her to go into a shell.

The single parent family lived on a farm during the depression, and they all had to work to make things happen so they could live. They lived off the land, butchering livestock to preserve it by canning or in crocks and gardening. They would cut crops and feed for the livestock by hand, as they did not have any machinery. Often, neighbors would help with field work.

At 14-years-old, her mother married Ray Sleight, who encouraged Rosalie to go to high school. She did not attend high school, worried that her siblings would be upset because they did not get that opportunity. Rosalie finished the eighth grade at Walnut Grove country school and went to work at her aunt Charlotte’s cafe. She lived in an apartment where the window balcony is on the corner of the building in downtown Ellsworth. She remembers sitting in the balcony with the other women who lived in the apartments and watching the drunks come out of the pool hall late at night. She also worked at the Tucker Hotel, in the dining room, when Harold “Peck” Ranker was working at Kanopolis Lake. The group of workers would come into the cafe at the hotel every morning because that’s where they met to go to work. Peck and Rosalie were married on June 1, 1950. They moved a house to a location on Prospect Street where they lived for 50 years.

Peck and Rosalie had two children, Trudy, married to John Lund and Randy, married to Marie; and five grandchildren, Leslie (Manning), Emalie (Murdoch), Joey, Josh and Courtney (Dillon); and three step-grandchildren, Julie (Hansen), Jim (Lund) and Janelle (Thiel.) She has eight great-grandchildren, that she still gets down on the floor to play with, Brie, Adrie, Henry, Leighton, Oakley, John, Jamison and Adaleigh.

She is most well-known as a high quality seamstress, sewing formal dresses for families in the community and providing sewn items for the hospital auxiliary bazaar. She has won several grand champion awards for her sewing at the Ellsworth County Fair. She taught herself to sew as a child, because her mother would not let her touch the sewing machine. One day, her mom went to town and Rosalie ripped apart a skirt and made a blouse from it. She got in trouble with her mother, but eventually got patterns and taught herself how to sew. Her daughter, Trudy, would bring her pictures from Seventeen magazine, to sew her clothes in high school. Rosalie would get a pattern close to the current trends and revise it to match what dress Trudy wanted. Once, Trudy went to Salina to go shopping with a group of friends. She ended up bringing home pictures of dresses to be made, as she discovered that buying stuff wasn’t all that cheap.

She also worked as the bookkeeper for her husband, Peck’s, plumbing service.

Her family invites friends, neighbors and extended family to celebrate Rosalie's 90th birthday with a card shower. Cards can be sent to 201 Hope Circle, Ellsworth, Kan. 67439.

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