By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Reporter
KANSAS CITY — At first meeting, you wouldn’t believe Rosemarie Maguire was born 100 years ago. Dressed immaculately, even elegantly, she smiles confidently at visitors.
Rosemarie was born July 13, 1913 in Kansas City. She will celebrate her 100th birthday with Mass and a dinner party at St. Thomas More parish July 13.
Rosemarie Meiners was born into a closely knit family, and grew up in St. Michael’s Parish. The early years of the century were horse-and-buggy time. The streets in northeast Kansas City were clogged with horse-drawn buggies and wagons, while pedestrians walked on wooden sidewalks. Few owned automobiles.
Rosemarie graduated from St. Aloysius High School in 1930. At the time it was rare for a young woman to get a job; besides it was the first years of the Great Depression — jobs were scarce. So she remained at home, filling her days with family and friends. Her evenings were spent with a young man named Barney Maguire.
Barney had fallen in love with cars, motorcycles and then airplanes, and their mechanics back when he was about 13. That love would later help him win Rosemarie.
The young man had acquired a 1926 Chevrolet Touring Car, and he and Rosemarie took lots of drives around town. She usually said “yes” to riding on his motorcycle and, after Barney earned his pilot’s license, “yes” to excursions all over the Midwest. She also said “yes” when he asked her to marry him.
They were married at Holy Name Church, Nov. 28, 1933. Barney started work as a soda jerk, then returned to auto mechanics, later taking a printing apprenticeship. Rosemarie was decorating and caring for their first house. Then, Barney got a ground floor opportunity and built Allied Concrete Products into the successful family-owned business he retired from in 1975.
The Maguires raised four daughters. In 1944, they moved their young family to St. Elizabeth Parish, remaining there until 1969, when they moved to Red Bridge in south Kansas City and joined St. Thomas More Parish.
Rosemarie recalled those years with a smile. “We were working; raising our family and watching them grow up. We also played poker with a group of friends. Barney and I hosted the poker party every six weeks. We’d save our money to buy a case of beer, at a dime a bottle, and play ‘poverty poker.’ It cost $1 to buy in. Those were good times!”
Sometime in the early 1980s, a cousin invited Rosemarie to help out in the Good Shepherd Manor Thrift Shop in Midtown, which operated to help support Good Shepherd Manor, a residential care facility for handicapped men and women. She enjoyed it, returned to help out again, and became hooked on helping others. She still treasures the friendships she made there.
After it closed, she began volunteering at Seton Center, next door to the church where she and Barney had married. Holy Name Church has since been torn down.
The Maguires celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary in 2008, not long before Barney died at the age of 99. “He was a really nice and a very interesting man,” she said.
She remembers the car he courted her with, vividly. “I grew to love driving a car, especially my Cadillac. Barney and I talked about selling one of our cars, and he let me choose. We sold his car. I finally stopped driving about 3 months ago. Just didn’t feel I should be driving at my age.”
She volunteers at Seton Center’s Thrift store on first Fridays. Clients can get four pieces of clothing per month per family member with a voucher. Rosemarie happily helps clients select articles of clothing. She feels good working with those in need, she said, “helping others keeps my faith strong, but the main thing is, I thoroughly enjoy it!”
She attends weekly Mass. She also enjoys the parish seniors group, More Friends. “We have a monthly activity, and a big card party coming up. I play cards with my sister and brother a lot, too. We get together about noon and play cards until about 4:30. We play 65. It’s a simple, but interesting kind of rummy. And it costs 65 cents to buy in.”
In her spare time, Rosemarie crochets dish scrubbies.
Her legacy is her 82 descendants. “I know there are 82, I write them each a check at Christmas,” she said with a chuckle. “I have four children: Shilo Garies, Esta Setter, Judy Furey and Kathy Maguire; 18 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-greats. And there are 14 spouses.”
The birthday Mass will be concelebrated by Father Don Farnan, pastor of St. Thomas More, and retired Father James Hart, a high school classmate of her daughter Judy.
Rosemarie “never thought about living this long. It’s pretty exciting! I’d tell my great-great-grandchildren, ‘just be happy and live.’ After July 13? It’s business as usual.”