Obituary: Rosie Lena Romeri Hijos
For The Madera Tribune
Rosie Lena Romeri Hijos.
Rosie Lena Romeri Hijos, a lifelong resident of Chowchilla, passed away on Dec. 13, 2022, at the age of 94, surrounded by her family.
Born in 1928 to John Romeri and Rosa Brovelli, she was the youngest of five siblings (Mary, Dominic, Niti, and Ado). Rosie had many fond memories with her family growing up on the farm. She adored her father and loved spending time with her mother in the kitchen, and she looked up to her sister Mary. She would recount how in the evenings on the farm she learned to finish her dinner quickly, else her three older brothers would clean her plate when she wasn’t looking. As a young girl Rosie was independent and determined to go to school just like her brothers, so at age five she starting walking herself to Dairyland School. And at age 14, she obtained her driver’s license so she could chauffer her parents to town.
Though Rosie and her future husband were born and raised within three miles of each other, it was a chance encounter at a World War II Victory Dance in Chowchilla where they first met. Pete Hijos was on leave after completing Army basic training before deploying to Japan with the American Occupation Force, and he and Rosie corresponded until the Army was finished with him. Soon after their marriage in 1947, Rosie would hand draw plans for a house on block paper from the local butcher’s shop that she and Pete would eventually build. Rosie lived in her home for the next 70 years.
Rosie was always organized and driven. She worked at a local doctor’s office in town on Second St., learning bookkeeping. She used her acquired skills to manage the books on the family ranch with Pete, and following his death, would continue to run the dairy and farm. Though always busy with family and the ranch, Rosie and Pete taught their children Diane and Brian the value of service. They were members of the Tenaya Guild, a fund raising organization for Valley Children’s Hospital. Rosie would later serve on the board of Madera Community Hospital and the Madera County Hospice. She was also appointed to the Madera County Fair Board first by Governor Jerry Brown, and then later re-appointed by his successor George Deukmejian.
Like her husband, Rosie was an accomplished pilot. She found joy flying her Cessna 177 Cardinal that had a personalized registry made up of her birthday and initials, a gift from Pete. She would fly all over the U.S. and Mexico, traveling with her family and friends. She would spoil her two grandsons with a pickup from the Bay Area and delivering them for visits to the ranch, landing directly on “Rosie’s Road.” Rosie and Pete were both long-time members of the Flying Farmers, and Rosie was recognized as the Woman of the Year in 1977. She later served as the first female President of the California Association of Flying Farmers. She was a member of both the Chowchilla Pilots Association and the 99’s International Women’s Flying Organization (of which Amelia Earhart was a founding member).
Rosie also had a flourish. She and Pete purchased three red Ford Thunderbirds from her brother Niti’s dealership, and she delighted in shuttling her two children and nieces and nephews around Dairyland. She was adventurous and sought to explore the world beyond Chowchilla, traveling to Italy and Spain to visit family, taking her children on trips to Puerto Rico, Germany, Portugal and Mexico, and traveling with friends to China. As she recalled her many trips from the den in her ranch, with a smirk she would say “I’ve seen a lot, but I didn’t go very far did I?”
Later in life Rosie found love again with Dimas Costa and they married in 2005 in Terceira in the Azores surrounded by their families.
She loved her family deeply and was an excellent cook, and was happiest hosting them at many gatherings. A proud mother and doting grandmother, she found the most joy in supporting her children and grandchildren in their pursuits and accomplishments, and was able to spend time with her new great-grandson Dominic before she passed. Rosie will be remembered for her strength and independence, her caring, and her love for family.
She is pre-deceased by her parents and siblings, husband Pete (1974), husband Dimas (2009), and daughter Diane (2013).
She is survived by her son Brian (Kim), grandsons Nicholas (Grace) and Paul (Danielle), great-grandson Dominic, and many nieces and nephews.
Rosie will be laid to final rest in Chowchilla Cemetery next to her husband and daughter. A celebration of Rosie’s life will be held Feb. 5, 2023.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to a charity of your choice, or one of the following: the American Cancer Society, or the Diane di Bari Memorial Scholarship Fund benefiting graduating disabled and special needs students (send checks c/o Wilcox High School; 3250 Monroe St. Santa Clara, CA 95051. Write in the check memo: Diane di Bari Memorial Scholarship Fund)
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