Rose White

Rose M. White

Saturday, June 5th, 1920 - Tuesday, December 29th, 2020
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Rose Talarico White died on December 29, 2020. She was 100 years old. Rose was preceded in death by her husband of fifty-two years, Gerald, and survived by: her children, Gerald White Jr. and his wife Catherine; Marianne Moore, and her husband Herb; her grandchildren: Gerald, Erin, Rebecca, Richard, and David; and her great-grandchildren: Grace, June, Stephen, Max, Linnea, Spencer, Charlie, and Sam.
Rose was born on June 5th, 1920, in Chicago, IL to Maria Christiani Talarico and Joseph Talarico, immigrants from Calabria, Italy. She was the third of their six living children, and their youngest daughter. Rose was a tiny girl, and her mother gave her an egg yolk beaten into a glass of red wine each morning to build her strength. When Rose fell ill with an ear infection, the local doctor was unsure that she would recover. He gave her a small porcelain dog and told her, "Where there's hope, there's life." Rose must have been a hopeful girl, because she survived the infection. And she kept that porcelain dog in her china cabinet all her life.
Rose's father was a bank guard (at a time when bank guarding in Chicago was serious business), and was known for his excellent marksmanship and magnanimous demeanor. He transformed the lot next to the family's house into a garden, where he grew vegetables, fruit trees, and grapes for wine. The garden kept the old country alive for the Talarico family, although they were also devoted to the promises of a more progressive and free life in America for their children. When Rose's intellect began to shine, her father arranged for her to attend a better high school farther from home in Chicago. And although her school friends weren't allowed to visit her immigrant neighborhood, Rose found friendship at the local settlement house, where she played on a girls' basketball team.
It was at the settlement house that Rose met Gerald White, a shy but quick-witted Irishman whom she married in 1946, just a few days after he returned from the European front. As Gerald and Rose stood at the altar in Holy Rosary Church, Rose heard a commotion in the pews and turned around to see her brother, just home from the war. He'd come right from the train, and was still in his navy uniform. All her life Rose had a great love of movies with joyful and improbable reunions (the Hallmark Channel was her favorite), perhaps because she'd once had a joyful and improbable reunion of her own.
After a post-war honeymoon in Chicago hopping from hotel to hotel, Rose and Gerald moved to Pittsburgh, where Gerald took a job with Music Distributing Company, selling Wurlitzer jukeboxes. Their first child, Gerald Jr., was born in 1947, followed by a daughter, Marianne, in 1950.
After Marianne's birth, the couple bought a home on Kewanna Avenue in Mt. Lebanon. Rose and Gerald lived in the house until Gerald's death in 1998, and Rose remained there until 2009, when she moved to Frey Village in Middletown, PA. Rose and Gerald were members of St. Anne's parish, where both of their children attended school. Rose was active in the Christian Mothers, and was known for her kindness and her crafts for the Christmas Bazaar.

Rose was also a working mother at a time when that was unusual, and she managed her varied responsibilities with true grace. After several years at Associates Finance, in 1967 Rose became an executive assistant at Mellon Bank in the MasterCard fraud division. She rode the streetcar downtown every morning, always dressed in beautiful suits, jewelry, and overcoats. All her life, Rose was a fantastic dresser.
In her retirement Rose became an avid reader, and participated in two reading groups, one of them a Shakespeare read aloud, which, over the course of many years, read his complete works. She also had a great bridge game, but was not above an afternoon of Uno or Rummicub with her grandchildren.
Rose was a devoted wife to Gerald, and among the many signs of her love was the notable absence of garlic from her cooking. (It didn't agree with his Irish meat-and- potatoes constitution.) A true sacrifice for an Italian cook!
Rose was a loving mother, and was constant in her devotion to her children, from childhood through their coming of age in the often heartbreaking and complicated 1960s. She welcomed her first grandchild in 1971, and would eventually welcome four more. She delighted in all of them, in their marching band concerts and cross-country running meets, their science fair projects and prom dresses. Rose was a great sport when it came to family events and adventures. She crossed the country in a motor home with her daughter and son-in-law, took a windy car ride to the top of Pikes Peak, and went canoeing and boating at her daughter's Mt. Gretna retreat. She attended all of her grandchildren's weddings, including one in the mountains of Colorado, and another on the Canadian prairie. And at one of those weddings, when there was no space in the car on the ride from the church to the reception, she just lay across everyone's lap in the backseat.
When her grandchildren were very young, Rose kept a glass jar of sugar cookies on the kitchen table, which made them feel like the luckiest grandchildren in the world. What they didn’t know was that Rose loved those cookies as much as they did. Her grandchildren's true luck was that Rose lived long enough for them to bring cookies to her, and to see how much she delighted in the sweetness of the treats, and in the presence of her great-grandchildren. Rose's life was as sweet as it was long. We—her beloved children and their spouses, her five grandchildren, and her eight great-grandchildren— will miss her dearly.
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