Rosemary Bass

April 16, 1929 — June 17, 2022


June 23, 2022 - 2:59 PM

Rosemary Bass

Rosemary Ida Whitfield Bass passed away in her 94th year, on Friday, June 17, 2022. She was born April 16, 1929, to Chester Arthur and Madeline Mae Paige Whitfield in Newton. She was the youngest of three siblings, following Peggy Joy (Day) and Paige, who died in infancy.

Rosemary graduated from Newton High School and attended one year at the University of Kansas before marrying John Elliott Bass and moving to Iola in 1947. John and Rosemary had three children, Jennifer Diane, John Arthur (who died in 2009), and Jay Andrew.

While her children were young, Rosemary was a homemaker who participated in many civic and social activities. In 1955, she was one of the driving forces behind the integration of the Iola Swimming Pool as well as the Buckeye Community Building, now the Dr. John Silas Bass North Community Center, making both municipal facilities accessible to all residents of Iola. Rosemary returned to school in 1967, obtaining certification as a respiratory therapist, and worked at Allen County Hospital over 20 years before retiring in 1987.

Rosemary was a long-time member of Ward Chapel A.M.E. Church, whom she considered part of her family. She also belonged to the NAACP, was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star for 54 years, and volunteered for the Kansas State Library Advisory Council for Talking Books. 

An avid reader, Rosemary always had a home full of books and newspapers. She loved the Iola Public Library, and, as her eyesight worsened, the Kansas Talking Book program.

Rosemary’s family includes her daughter Jennifer McKenzie; daughter-in-law Dionne Bass and her children Keesha Ball (Corey) and John Silas Bass, and their children Corey Ball and John Elliot Bass; son Jay (Barbara) Bass, and their daughters Emily and Madeline Bass; nieces Diana (George) Hillard and Kathi Day; nephews Wendell (Angela), Elliott (Beverly), and Ralph (Christie) Bass; as well as numerous cousins throughout the country. 

A celebration of life is planned for the fall.


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