A beloved member of our News Tribune family has died. Rosalie Heislen, a 67-year employee and senior advertising representative, died Friday at St. Mary's Health Center in Jefferson City at age 86.
Rosalie was hardly the retiring type, literally or figuratively.
A winner of the Missouri Press Association's Old Pro Award last year, she continued her active workday schedule until being sidelined by a recent illness.
And whenever an advertising opportunity arose - from daily editions to special sections, from grand openings to the signature "sig" pages she promoted - customers and clients could count on a visit or phone call.
When Rosalie's remarkable 45-year anniversary with the News Tribune was celebrated on Feb. 1, 1990 - with blessings from priests, a front-page news story and a mayoral Rosy Day proclamation - the occasion marked only a milepost on a journey that continued another 22 years.
Rosalie's career spanned departments as well as decades. She began her career with the News Tribune on Feb. 1, 1945, as a switchboard operator. She worked in the circulation department checking in newspaper carriers, worked in classified advertising and, in the 1970s, joined display advertising.
Rosalie's contributions, however, extended beyond any job description. She was a friend, a mentor and an example - among the first to arrive at the office each morning, after attending early Mass.
Her work ethic was remembered by News Tribune Vice President Mike Vivion, who said: "Rosy will be sadly missed by us all. She was a real trouper and could be counted on for anything. Major snowstorms might keep others from getting to work, but not Rosy.
"She would even volunteer to deliver missed papers. I learned a lot from Rosy over the years."
Advertising Department Manager Jane Haslag characterized Rosy as "an inspiration to all of us here at the News Tribune. Her genuine concern for her clients and co-workers, her strong work ethic and her love of life made her one of a kind. She loved her work at the News Tribune and, in return, her coworkers and clients loved her. We will hold her memory in our hearts for years to come."
Co-worker Wanda Roark recalled: "I have worked with Rosy 43 years. Rosy was a dedicated employee who loved what she did. She was a very special friend and a second mom to me. We all love Rosy. She will be missed."
Janet Ousley, a co-worker and herself a 32-year employee, said: "Rosy took me under her wing from Day One. I watched and listened and gleaned all I could from her. Many clients I have called on after Rosy gave me the nickname "little Rosy' and I just smile and say thank you. I will miss her more than words can express."
Rosalie's career spanned from linotype and hot metal to digital design and e-edition.
Despite those changes, Rosalie continually personified the human touch - an essential and ongoing element of the News Tribune's mission.