Rose­mary C. Easley

A Mas­ter Gar­dener and a main­stay for more than three decades at Gar­land’s Gar­den Cen­ter

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - OBITUARIES - By Fred­er­ick N. Ras­mussen

Rose­mary C. Easley, a Mas­ter Gar­dener who was a main­stay for more than three decades at the old Gar­land’s Gar­den Cen­ter in Ca­tonsville, where she was known for her col­or­ful millinery, died April 5 from res­pi­ra­tory fail­ure at St. Agnes Hospi­tal.

The long­time Ca­tonsville res­i­dent was 93.

The for­mer Rose­mary Cather­ine Martin was born and raised in Chicago, the daugh­ter of An­thony Martin, an ac­coun­tant, and Sophia Martin, a home­maker.

After grad­u­at­ing in 1943 from the Academy of Our Lady, she en­rolled at Mount Scholas­tica Col­lege in Atchi­son, Kan., from which she earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in 1948 in English lit­er­a­ture, with a mi­nor in dra­mat­ics, and later re­ceived a teach­ing cer­tifi­cate from Chicago Teach­ers Col­lege.

Also while at­tend­ing col­lege dur­ing World War II, she worked as an ex­pe­d­i­tor with the Navy’s In­spec­tor of Ma­te­rial from 1943 to 1945.

In the late 1940s, she es­tab­lished the Bev­erly Nurs­ery School in Chicago, and after it closed, taught kinder­garten stu­dents at St, Mar­garet of Scot­land, also in Chicago.

Mrs. Easley re­turned to Mount Scholat­ica in 1958, work­ing as a re­search as­sis­tant at its Tape In­sti­tute, per­form­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal re­search, record­ing scripts and send­ing tapes to teach­ers for elec­tronic class­rooms.

In 1959, she mar­ried Ray E. Easley, a pol­icy writer for the So­cial Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion, and in 1962 the cou­ple moved to Baltimore when he was trans­ferred to SSA head­quar­ters in Wood­lawn.

Mrs. Easley’s love of gar­den­ing bloomed dur­ing the years she was a com­mu­ni­cant of the now-closed St. Lawrence Ro­man Catholic Church in Dick­eyville, where she was in charge of land­scap­ing for the par­ish.

She also vol­un­teered at the church, was a Eucharis­tic min­is­ter, and headed the par­ish’s Con­fra­ter­nity of Chris­tian Doc­trine pro­gram.

After St. Lawrence closed, she be­came an ac­tive com­mu­ni­cant of St. Gabriel Ro­man Catholic Church in Wind­sor Mill, where she served as a mem­ber of the So­cial Jus­tice Com­mit­tee, which worked to unite di­verse cul­tures within the church and sur­round­ing com­mu­nity.

In 1972, Mrs. Easley em­barked on a 32-year ca­reer at Gar­land’s Gar­den Cen­ter on In­gle­side Av­enue in Ca­tonsville as a mem­ber of its sales staff who worked ad­vis­ing cus­tomers about plants and gar­den­ing, and who was eas­ily rec­og­niz­able by her col­or­ful hats dec­o­rated with flow­ers.

For more than 15 years, she planned and led tours of the gar­den cen­ter for lo­cal schoolchil­dren, and dur­ing the 1990s, she also worked for the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Ex­ten­sion Ser­vice, ad­vis­ing gar­den­ers on a wide range of top­ics, such as the proper PH for soil, split­ting peren­ni­als and fight­ing gar­den pests.

A skilled or­ganic Mas­ter Gar­dener in her own right, Mrs. Easley was us­ing fish scales and emul­sions from her fisherman hus­band’s catch to fer­til­ize her own gar­den long be­fore it was pop­u­lar to do so.

“She was well known not only for her ex­ten­sive ex­per­tise but for her whim­si­cal sto­ry­telling, pa­tience, and ex­u­ber­ant per­son­al­ity,” ac­cord­ing to a bi­o­graph­i­cal pro­file com­piled by her fam­ily.

A great pro­po­nent of the ben­e­fits of gar­den­ing, Mrs. Easley told The Baltimore Sun in 1997 that “peo­ple find it re­lieves their stress.”

Mrs .Easley’s var­i­ous gar­den tips were pub­lished in Gar­land’s news­let­ter, as well as such pub­li­ca­tions as The Baltimore Sun, Ca­tonsville Times and The Catholic Re­view.

She also wrote a monthly col­umn, “The Ram­bling Rose,” in the com­mu­nity as­so­ci­a­tion’s news­let­ter, and was a fre­quent guest on Stu Kerr’s call-in gar­den­ing pro­gram, which aired Satur­day morn­ings on WCBM Ra­dio.

She lec­tured fre­quently at gar­den clubs, the Mary­land Home and Gar­den Show, Baltimore Herb Fes­ti­val, and the Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety of Mary­land.

Mrs. Easley re­tired from the gar­den cen­ter in 2004 when she turned 81.

She vol­un­teered at the Se­nior Cen­ter in Ca­tonsville and Mo­saic Com­mu­nity Ser­vices, who named her Vol­un­teer of the Year in 2007.

At Mo­saic, she pre­sented classes to help associates re­lieve the stress that ac­com­pa­nies men­tal ill­ness. The Baltimore County Com­mis­sion on Dis­abil­i­ties rec­og­nized her vol­un­teerism, and in 2009 she was pre­sented the Baltimore County Vol­un­teer of the Year Award for shar­ing her gar­den­ing skills with the men­tally ill.

Mrs. Easley and her hus­band, who died in 1995, en­joyed the outdoors and tak­ing their fam­ily on camp­ing trips.

Since 2012, she has been a res­i­dent of the Charlestow­n Re­tire­ment Com­mu­nity in Ca­tonsville.

A me­mo­rial Mass will be of­fered at 11 a.m. June 11 in Our Lady of the An­gels Chapel at Charlestow­n, 719 Maiden Choice Lane.

She is sur­vived by a son, Marty Easley of Ca­tonsville; four daugh­ters, Kath­leen M. Ste­wart of Ca­tonsville, Ce­leste Easley of Ti­mo­nium, Re­nee Tra­pani of Luthervill­e and Rose-Marie Adams of New Lon­don, N.C.; and six grand­chil­dren.

Rose­mary C. Easley was a fa­mil­iar fig­ure at Gar­land’s Gar­den Cen­ter in Ca­tonsville.

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