Wesley at Tehaleh is home to a true renaissance couple. Rosemary and Bob Brown have a love story filled with adventure, art, hardship, and passion for nature.
How It Began
Confidence, beauty and the ability to carry a tune. That’s what drew Bob Brown to Rosemary. The year was 1951. There was a rare student assembly at Gloversville High School. Rosemary stood on stage and sang an aria from Carmen. Bob, whose main interests had been hunting and sports, became interested in something new.
Rosemary and Bob walked the same route home from school. One day, along Spring Street, they struck up a conversation. Now, more than 70 years later, they’re inseparable.
Coming to Tehaleh
These days, Rosemary is known as the woman who plays show tunes on the piano in Wesley at Tehaleh’s Event Center and Community Chapel. Bob has written six books and still writes today.
The Browns moved to Wesley at Tehaleh about a year ago. It’s been an adjustment from their home on Whidbey Island. They initially chose Whidbey Island for retirement living. Their plan was big. Bob designed and built their home on five acres. Rosemary oversaw the interiors. It was quiet at night. During the day, the northwest was on full display. They watched ships cross through Puget Sound with the Cascade Mountains sprawled out in the other direction.
Rosemary and Bob hosted dinner parties. Rosemary became an accomplished cook whose love of Italian cuisine knew no bounds. There were dinner party regulars. A group of World War II veterans came often. There were three priests on Whidbey who joined the gatherings. There was always one hitch: choosing who should bless the meal.
Chronology of a Love Story
After high school graduation, Rosemary and Bob went to separate colleges in the same Upstate New York town. They continued to date. After a year of university, they married and honeymooned for three glorious days in the Adirondacks. Then with little to spare, they moved to a small home together.
In those early days, Bob says they budgeted every penny. They paid their way through university. They covered rent and food costs. After that, there was nothing left.
So when recruiters came to Clarkson University, Bob got excited. He had graduated Magna Cum Laude. He received several job offers and even turned down the highest paying position. Finally, Bob chose to work for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It was the lowest paying position he was offered. Bob knew he wanted to be of service to others. In the mid 1950’s, the FAA was just getting off the ground. Just a few years later, President John Kennedy would put out the call to service. Things were happening, and Bob was part of it.
Bob’s first position was in the FAA’s Northeast region. Rosemary was up for the adventure. They had their first child Michele in 1957. Son, Bob Jr., arrived in 1959.
Shortly thereafter, they moved to Pennsylvania. Bob was charged with airport development. He worked on innovations to make air transportation safer. He was good at it. The FAA moved the family to Atlanta. Atlanta was a welcoming and growing city that offered a huge opportunity for airport development. Bob and his colleagues excelled. Rosemary loved the area. The Browns welcomed their third child, Mathew.
In 1971, they got the call to move again. This time the FAA needed help with the Seattle Airport. There was a lot to be done. Noise to worry about. And, that famous billboard had just gone up. Boeing employees reminded the last resident to turn out the lights.
The Browns settled into a brand-new home, built by Weyerhaeuser. It was on the golf course of the Meridian Valley Country Club. They decided that with this move, they were finally home.
The kids grew up and moved out. Bob retired from the FAA and opened a consulting practice. In 1988, the Browns moved to Whidbey Island. They relocated to Wesley at Tehaleh in 2022. Through it all, their love has remained. In August 2023, the Browns celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.