Rosemary E. (Vassar) Curtis

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Rosemary E. (Vassar) Curtis, 68, of Western Branch, Chesapeake, Va. died unexpectedly of sepsis in the emergency room at Maryview Hospital, Portsmouth, Va. on Jan. 26, 2021. Rosemary had been waging a valiant 20-month battle against ovarian cancer which had weakened her immune system.

Rosemary was born in Washington D.C. at Andrews Air Force Base on March 13, 1952, the daughter of William L. Jr. and Camilla (Salamone) Vassar. She was educated in Portland and Auburn public schools, graduating from Edward Little High School, class of 1970, went on to graduate from the University of Maine at Orono in 1974 with B.A. degrees in Mathematics and Secondary Education and received a master’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Maine at Portland – Gorham in 1982.

Upon graduating from UMO, Rosemary began her 34-plus year professional teaching career in Auburn as a substitute teacher at ELHS in 1975, followed by teaching stints at Elan private High School – Poland, Mt. Ararat High School – Topsham, AFEES High School – Lajes Air Force Base Terecia Azores, Norcom High School – Portsmouth, Va. and Deep Creek High School – Chesapeake, Va. where she was head of the mathematics department at the time of her retirement after the 2010-11 school year. She received the DCHS Principal’s Award in 2011. Even though Rosemary was diagnosed with MS in 1979, she served as a class adviser to multiple classes, coached ice hockey cheerleaders and junior varsity softball. She and Steve co-chaperoned numerous Eagles student activities over a nine-year period. As Charlie Brown answers Lucy when she asks, “What do teachers make?”, Charlie replies “They make a difference.” Rosemary made a difference in many of her students’ lives as evidenced by the cards and letters she received throughout the years, and the face-to-face interactions she had with former students.

Rosemary was an avid sportswoman, coach as noted and sports fan. She loved downhill and X-country skiing, racquetball, hacking at golf and bowling with her family, friends, and colleagues. She enjoyed attending amateur and professional sporting events with Steve. After retiring, Rosemary especially enjoyed Wednesday afternoon bowling, four days a week exercise classes at the YMCA and playing bridge on Friday afternoons at the Portsmouth Senior Center. She also very much enjoyed the lunches shared with her YMCA exercise friends and outings with the Chesapeake retired teachers. Rosemary loved to travel from an early age. She cherished her trips throughout the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. Rosemary and Steve especially, fondly remembered living aboard on Terceira Island – Azores Portugal. It was the best time of their lives. Rosemary loved the State of Maine and spent a lot of time in Maine visiting with family, friends, and former colleagues. She loved its rock-bound coast and pristine beaches, and immensely enjoyed living on Sand Pond – Tacoma Lakes for four summers, kayaking almost every day for 14 weeks during the summer. Wherever she traveled, Rosemary made friends.

Rosemary is survived by her husband of 47 years, Stephen A. Curtis of Chesapeake, Va. (she was the Ying to his Yang); a brother, William L. Vassar III of Searsport, a sister, Karen (Vassar) Scammon and her husband, Jamie of Auburn, a brother-in-law, Michael E. Curtis of Augusta; special nephews and nieces, Lacey Jane Vassar of Gray, Joseph Scammon of Augusta, Tyler Rose Boutin of Auburn, Andrew Scammon of North Attleboro, Mass., Kris Curtis of Bowdoinham and Jasmine Curtis of Portland; nine very special grand-nephews and nieces; and numerous special cousins and friends, whom she dearly loved and appreciated.

Rosemary was predeceased by her parents; and grandparents, William L. Sr. and Mary M. (O’Donnell) Vassar, Ernest G. and Rose P. (Riccio) Salamone.

Steve would also like to thank all their Western Branch neighbors and all of Rosemary’s family, friends, and former colleagues in the Tidewater Area, Maine and across the country for their assistance, thoughtfulness, cards, flowers, treats and love throughout her ordeal. You will never know in this life, how much you all meant to her.

Rosemary final wishes were to be cremated. The National Cremation Society of Virginia Beach will be handling the cremation. Steve will transport Rosemary home to Auburn for a memorial service to be determined later.

In her memory and if so desired, Rosemary wished donations would be made to either the American MS or Cancer Societies. If donations are made to the cancer society, please specify such donation is to be used for ovarian cancer research.

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