Rosalie Cieslewicz Sloan, 97, wife of the late Richard (Dick) Wilson Sloan, died peacefully on Wednesday morning, September 4, 2019, at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Rosalie was born on August 7, 1922, in Rosholt, Wis., to Stanley and Clara (Ziolkowski) Cieslewicz, the fourth child of 14. Rosalie obtained her nursing degree from St. Mary’s Hospital and School of Nursing in Wausau, Wis. and started her career at age 21. During World War II, she worked as a surgical nurse and instructor at St. Mary’s, and afterward accepted a job caring for polio victim Frederick Snite Jr., known at the time as the Man in the Iron Lung. Her job took her to Miami, Fla., where she met a young flight engineer named Richard Wilson Sloan, who was originally from California. They were married in Miami on April 17, 1948. Richard and Rosalie enjoyed dancing, camping, socializing, dining out, and traveling together. Their voyages over the years included trips to Poland, Ireland, Italy, the Virgin Islands, and Jerusalem; and they eventually traveled to all 50 states.
On December 25, 1949, their first son, Charles Richard Sloan, whom they called Chuck, was born in Miami. He was followed by Michael Edward in 1953, Mary Ann in 1954, and Helen Clare in 1956. Rosalie also gave birth to two sons who died in infancy: Patrick Lee and Martin Gerard. The family lived in North Miami Beach; Phoenix, Ariz.; Steven’s Point, Wisc.; Memphis, Tenn.; and finally, Roanoke.
Rosalie generously donated her time and abilities to others in need, fostering several newborns for Catholic Family Services, and volunteering with the Catholic Daughters of the Americas. She also assisted with resettling Polish refugee families in the Roanoke Valley. Rosalie was proud of being a nurse, and one of her mantras was, “Once a nurse, always a nurse!”
Rosalie was raised in a Polish Catholic family and her faith remained a touchstone throughout her life. She and Richard were members of Our Lady of Nazareth and St. Andrew’s churches in Roanoke before helping to found the first Catholic church in Botetourt County, the Church of the Transfiguration. Rosalie never missed an opportunity to say a Rosary, and her children remember reciting prayers with her while in the family car on their myriad travels. Rosalie also enjoyed a healthy social life, hosting bridge at her home and, in later years, staying active on outings with the Young at Heart Club from her church. She was a wonderful cook and she and Richard loved their beautiful home at Grandview, opening it to large family gatherings throughout the year.
Rosalie was preceded in death by her parents; siblings Annette, Mary, Josephine, Vincent, Casey, Stanley, Francis, and Michael; and her husband Richard, who died in 2006.
She is survived by her brothers, Tony, Marty, and Tommy; and her sisters, Patricia (Pat) and Clare Mae; her children, Chuck, Michael (Kathleen), Mary Ann Johnson (Bob), and Helen Taylor; and her grandchildren, Courtney Sloan, Gregory Sloan, Patrick Johnson, Meghan von Fischer Benzon (Bryan), Kathryn Rose Conner (Kevin), and Casey Johnson.
Rosalie’s family would like to say a special thank you to Home Instead Senior Care, especially caregiver Shanna Tolley; the Fincastle Fire and EMS; the staff at Brandon Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where Rosalie had resided since January 2019; and the progressive and palliative care staff at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, for the love and care they gave to Rosalie during her time with them.
Funeral arrangements were handled by Botetourt Funeral Home. Visitation at the Church of the Transfiguration took place on Friday, September 6, from 5-7:30 p.m., beginning with a Rosary. A funeral Mass was held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 7, at the Church of the Transfiguration. Mass was celebrated by Father Stephen McNally and Father David Stanfill. Graveside services were held at Godwin Cemetery in Fincastle after Mass, followed by a reception at the Church of the Transfiguration. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Fincastle Fire & EMS, P.O. Box 432, Fincastle, 24090; or the Church of the Transfiguration, 7624 Roanoke Road, Fincastle, 24090. Online condolences may be made at www.botetourtfuneralhome.com.