Rosemarie was the 8th of 10 children born to Rose and Frank Staropoli, Italian emigrants who settled in New York City. After attending Fordham University she traveled to Italy and South Africa to work as a missionary teacher. When she returned to the states, Rosemarie taught the 3rd grade for many years at Holy Rosary School in the Bronx. In 1967 she married the love of her life, Vincent Caschetta and they began their new life together in Southern California.
After attending Saddleback College she worked as a CCUII, R.N. at Saddleback Hospital in Mission Viejo. She was fluent in Italian, enjoyed playing the piano, traveling to Europe, cooking, holiday entertaining, telling stories about the past and tending to her rose garden. Rosemarie is remembered for her wit, cheerfulness, generosity and compassion for others. Her most endearing qualities were her love of family and faith in the Lord Jesus, which shaped who she was for all of us.
Written by Mary Regina Hazell; read by Brian Hazell
When I think of my Aunt Rosemarie, I realize why people were so drawn to her. They were drawn to her because she made them feel comfortable and loved. For instance, holidays were always elaborate events and Aunt Rosemarie was right there enjoying them with us as long as I can remember. But I think Aunt Rosemarie’s favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. We always drove to RoRo’s house for her famous turkey dinner and her secret stuffing recipe (There is a rumor that someone leaked the recipe recently..). According to my mom the prep started the week before with the “Turkey Search”. Finding the fattest and largest Turkey in the Mission Viejo area was not an easy task. It required every supper market butcher in the vicinity to be alerted that the Caschetta’s were hunting for the “prize” turkey again. When we walked in on Thanksgiving Day we were greeted by the aromas of roasted turkey and my Aunt Rosemarie greeted each of us with her smile, laughter and hugs. She made us feel special. After dinner she handed my brothers and Kayci a large piece of paper with a turkey which meant it was “Turkey coloring time.” As kids, Rosemarie told us we would each get a gift but we had to earn it by singing a song or doing a skit for the entertainment of the adults. When it was time for dessert, we had every dessert known for any American holiday, and sometimes every Italian one, too.
My aunt loved life. She was so much fun to be around. She had a great sense of humor, was always there to listen to a friend or relative’s problem and give advice. One of her favorite bits of wise advice was, “Well, it could always be worse.”
My mother said that when she was a young girl my aunt would take her and my Uncle Peter on many fun outings. Their time together was always very special. Aunt Rosemarie took them on their first train ride to Manhattan and first movie theater. They went to Chinatown to eat, Rockefeller Center, Macy’s to see Santa and even the World’s Fair. My aunt and my mom shared their love of desserts together and were known to skip lunch and eat ice cream when they were on diets (you know, to go easy on the carbs..). Whenever family from the East Coast came out to California to visit she took them to Disney Land, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios and Sea World. Aunt Rosemarie new those places so well that she could have worked for them as a tour guide.
To my brothers, Kayci and me, RoRo was like a second Grandma. To my mom she was like a second mother, sister, best friend and guardian angel in her life. To my Uncle Vinnie, Rosemarie was the love of his life. They met on a blind date through one of Rosemarie’s 3rd grade students who happened to be Vin’s cousin, Teresa.
My Uncle Vinnie remembers fondly their Saturday nights out dancing during their courtship. They were truly meant to be together, and Rosemarie was the miraculous answer to his St. Joseph’s novena.
My aunt Rosemarie touched so many lives, relatives, students, friends and patients she cared for. They would fill this church five times over if everyone could be here. Her strong Catholic faith and her love of Jesus gave her the courage during her illness and deep meaning in life. She had a light that people were always drawn to. That was because she imaged love beautifully, and many of us here are who we are today because of her special love.