Mary Rose (Schafroth) Back, a loving Wife, Mother, and Grandmother, formerly of Centerville, Ohio, passed away on July 23, 2021, at New Dawn Memory Care in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her family had been at her side over the past several weeks. Mary Rose was born July 22, 1938, in Louisville, Kentucky, to John and Mary (Rohner) Schafroth.
She is survived by her loving husband of 60 years, John "Warren" Back and four children, David (Megan) Back of
Lafayette, CO, Kelli (Ian) Brennan of Colorado Springs, Nikki (Casey) Price of Broomfield, CO, and Jodi (Jeffry) Champagne of Colorado Springs, CO. Also surviving are her seven grandchildren, Nicholas and Holly Brennan, Katy Back, Zachary and Rachel Price, and Jackson and Mia Champagne. She was
preceded in death by her parents, John Henry Schafroth and Mary Emma Schafroth; sisters, Josephine Brown, Lillian Fleischman, Martha Holliger, Helen Harbin, and Alberta Downs; and brother, Charles Schafroth.
Mary Rose grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and attended Manual High School. Growing up, she spent hours babysitting her older sisters' children, chasing chickens in the yard,
playing sports with her brother, Chuck, playing the clarinet in the marching band, and dominating on the basketball court as well as pitching on the softball diamond. After graduation, she began working for the Army Corps of Engineers in a
clerical role, although later, her talents designing and making church games, after-prom decorations, 3D bulletin boards, mystery trips, multi-step scavenger hunts, costumes and masks, and original holiday games for her family would reveal she, too, could have been an engineer in her own right.
While in Louisville, Mary Rose met the love of her life, John "Warren" Back, a professional hockey player for the Louisville Rebels. The two were married on September 3, 1960, and their love, devotion and marriage spanned over 60 years, 4 children and 7 grandchildren. A devoted wife, she and Warren followed his hockey teams living in Milwaukee, WI,
Muskegon, MI, Trotwood, OH, Waterford Township, MI, and settling in Centerville, Ohio, where they spent 37 years. Mary Rose tirelessly worked to create a loving home with
fresh-baked cookies, holiday decorations, lively backyard
parties, and eventually creating a haven of fun where her grandkids couldn't wait to visit each summer. Mary Rose was always happiest when her entire family was present, and she could play with her grandkids. No matter where her own children moved, Mary Rose visited frequently. She went to great lengths to send care packages often to let them know she was thinking of each one. On a few occasions, the grandkids were surprised to find her wrapped in a bow on the front porch to be the ultimate care package.
Besides her family, Mary Rose's true passion was serving others. She never said, "No." when asked to cook for the church, create and direct the games at church-camp, play first base on the church softball team, or coach one of her kids in their sport of choice. She could be frequently found in nursing homes around the community visiting shut-ins with her warm smile and infectious energy. It was no surprise to her children when she enrolled and graduated from Clown College to
officially become a clown. However, for those who knew her closely, she never needed to go to college to become a clown. For a decade, she was beloved at Dayton Children's Hospital as "Rosie Hugs", a volunteer clown extraordinaire, quelling kids' fears in the lobby and emergency room and escorting kids to surgery with her caring approach and funny antics.
Additionally, she recruited her reluctant family to join her clown troupe annually for the Centerville Fourth of July
Parade. Although she never quite learned to juggle, it should be noted that she was excellent at making balloon animals.
Mary Rose was always inquisitive, loved the outdoors, and had a tender heart for all children which is why her career at Centerville City Schools' Grant Nature Center was as if it was designed for her. Oftentimes creating her own curriculum, Mary Rose led children grades K-6th all over the 160-acre woodland park teaching them outdoor education in a fun, hands-on way. She picked up snakes, overturned stones to show creepy-crawlies, and hiked the woods daily. Mary Rose couldn't walk into a grocery store around town without a
local student recognizing her as the famous, "Rosie Raccoon".
The last seven years, Mary Rose and Warren lived in Colorado to be near their children and grandchildren. Mary Rose fought a courageous battle with Alzheimer's for many years. Her family will miss her silliness, compassion, endless support, and fun-loving heart every day. To say, "They broke the mold after she was made" is an understatement. She was truly a special lady, and her legacy lives on in each of her children and grandchildren. We want to thank the nurses and staff at New Dawn Memory Care and Abode Hospice in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for their devoted, loving care of Mary Rose. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Centerville-Washington Township Park District.
Per Mary Rose's final wishes, she will be cremated. Griffin Funeral Companies of Colorado Springs of Colorado are
handling the cremation. A memorial service will be held at David's United Church of Christ in Kettering, Ohio, on
Saturday, November 6, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. followed by a
Celebration of Life in the adjacent Fellowship Hall.