Rosemary Olds Obituary

Rosemary Burns Olds
Rosemary Burns Olds

July 25, 1936 - May 13, 2018
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
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Rosemary B. Olds, 81, of Des Moines, Iowa passed away at home with her husband and son by her side on Sunday, May 13, 2018. She was under the care of HCI Hospice Care Services.

Memorial services will be 11:00 a.m., Friday, May 18 at the Dunn’s Funeral Home, 2121 Grand Ave in Des Moines. Private family burial will be at a later date.

Rosemary was born July 25, 1936 in Des Moines to Nelson S. Miriam (Wasson) Burns.

Rosemary attended schools in the Des Moines Public School district and graduated with the class of 1954 from Theodore Roosevelt High School. She continued her education culminating with a Doctorate in English Literature from Drake University in December of 1983. Rosemary was united in marriage to John W. Olds on July 10, 1957 at Mitchel Air Force Base in New York. They settled into Des Moines, Iowa in 1972 following John’s medical residency and fellowships.

Rosemary was a teacher, counselor, community leader, mother, wife, friend and companion. She had overcome adversities most of us can only imagine. Rosemary was an entirely original personality: a witty, articulate, gracious person of endless energy and curiosity. She was admired by her students, respected by her colleagues, cherished by her friends and loved by her family. Those who encountered her will never forget her infectious smile and love of words, her wit, her flair, and her brightening glance. She had been a lifelong advocate and defender of women's rights not only as a teacher and community leader but as she lived her life. Rosemary was actively involved in P.E.O., Questers, and the Roosevelt alumni of 1954. She loved reading about and visiting Civil War museums and art museums. She loved traveling both to near and far away places with her family and enjoyed going to the opera. Fashion was also a passion for Rosemary.

Left to cherish her memory is her husband, John Olds of Des Moines; son David Olds of Peoria, Illinois; daughter Miriam (Sean) Sayre of Des Moines; grandsons: Thomas and Joseph Sayre, cousins Linda Carr, Miriam Dunlap (David Larson) and Julianne Secor.

Rosemary is preceded in death by her parents, Nelson and Miriam Burns, her son, James N. Olds, as well as many beloved family pets.

Rosemary’s family would like to thank Becky Lause and Bridgett Lause who were wonderful companions and caregivers to Rosemary. The family would also like to thank family and friends that visited and sent well wishes throughout Rosemary’s illness.

Memorial Charitable Contributions can be made to Roosevelt High School Alumni Association.





Memorial Services
Dunn's Funeral Home
2121 Grand Ave.
Des Moines, IA US 50312
Friday, May 18, 2018
11:00 AM


Kathy Collins Reilly Scholarship with Roosevelt High School Foundation
4419 Center Street
Des Moines, IA 50312