Rosa Owings Eshelman

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Obituaries in York, PA | York Dispatch

June 27, 1928-March 13, 2023 Rosa Eshelman, loving wife of John B. Eshelman and daughter of Thaddeus C. and Mae Miller Owings, was born on June 27, 1928 in York, PA. She died peacefully at Willow Valley Retirement Community on Monday, March 13, 2023 under the loving care of Caring Hospice and Willow Valley Glen nursing teams. Rosa married John “Jack” Brownback Eshelman in 1954. Mr. Eshelman died in Lancaster in 2010. Rosa is survived by her four sons: Andrew O. Eshelman (Catherine M. Eshelman) of Chevy Chase MD, Thaddeus O. Eshelman (Deborah K. Dundore) of Atlantic Beach FL, Roger B. Eshelman ( Amelia S. Eshelman) of Carbondale CO, and Henry O. Eshelman (Victoria E. Miller) of Encino CA; one daughter Dorsey Eshelman Elliott (Mark T. Elliott) of Hazleton PA; two stepsons: John H. Eshelman (Sharon W. Eshelman) of Chapel Hill NC, and Thomas W. Eshelman (Rev Alice Jeanne Finan) of Asheville NC; and one stepdaughter: Anne Eshelman Thurston of Palo Alto, CA. Rosa is survived by 22 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by five of her six siblings: Mary Rogers Owings, Caroline Owings Hallinan, Anne Owings Halloran, Thaddeus C. Owings and Henry H. Owings. She is survived by her sister, Susan Owings (Mrs. Edward) Kissell of Birmingham, AL. Rosa was a 1946 graduate of Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School and Georgetown Junior College (1948) in Washington DC. Following graduation, she worked as a medical secretary for the Home Care Program sponsored by the Stewart Estate, Washington DC, and later for the State of Pennsylvania Cancer Detection Clinic at York Hospital. She lived an abundantly full life, dedicated first to her role as a wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt, rarely missing a birthday card or a Valentine, or the thank you note for the note that thanked her. Her arms and heart were open immediately to every in-law. She treated them as her own and adored her grandchildren and the more recent gifts of great grands, despite long-distance separations. Her refrigerator door was covered in family pictures, making sure none were overlooked. Countless summers and holidays were spent with cousins from far and near and her home was a revolving door open to them all. Rosa didn’t miss an opportunity to welcome newcomers from diverse walks of life and experiences; with special handling for those who were single, she’d even size up prospective mates. “Imagine what it’s like to be in their shoes,” she’d say, and then shift into action. Her friends were always there for her and she for them, and it was wonderful to watch her “re-bloom” with her new circles at Willow Valley. An extremely humble golfer who never recorded or shared a personal record of achievements, Rosa was the consummate sport on the course and her titles were numerous. She defeated her mother for the Country Club of York Club Championship at the age of 24 and was the Lancaster Country Club Ladies Championship eighteen times over three decades. Graciously accepting defeat by the “younger generation” in her later years, it gave her great joy to watch women who were advancing their game. She was as excited for them as they were for themselves, and that’s how she competed and sparked enthusiasm, always playing against the course and not her competitors. When the going got tough, she’d whisper to herself, “take a lesson”, and be a willing pupil. She also won the US Senior Women’s Golf Association Championship her first year competing, the Pennsylvania Senior Women’s Golf Association Championship, the Central Pennsylvania Women’s Golf Championship, the Lancaster City-County Women’s Championship (seven times) and the Lancaster City-County Mixed Championship (four times). Rosa loved the game of golf and was eager to share her expertise with the young and old and was thrilled when many of her children and grandchildren took up the sport. It was special to see her share, encourage, and impart her love for the game to others. She coached the Franklin & Marshall women’s JV golf team at the age of 83, which was a most rewarding experience. The ultimate achievement was being inducted into the Lancaster Golf Hall of Fame in 2007, along with Jim Furyk, for her a source of quiet pride and humility to be considered in his “league.” Rosa was a student of Lancaster County history and her family’s ancestry because their battles, endurances and achievements were meaningful to her. As a result, she joined the Colonial Dames of America, was a board member and docent at the Rock Ford Foundation, and member of the Daughters of the Cincinnati, all in her pursuit of preserving and learning history. She was also a board member of the National Senior Women’s Golf Association and the Schreiber Clinic. Not having achieved enough to her satisfaction, she worked for the Trust Department of Fulton Bank for seventeen years in her “retirement years” and spent another twelve years with Bank of Lancaster and Sterling Financial. The Lancaster Country Club Board recently awarded her an honorary lifetime membership in recognition of her lifetime service, dedication, and achievements to the sport, the Club and community. Rosa was an avid gardener, tennis player and collector of American antiques. She learned to play bridge at age 85, becoming proficient enough to earn a masterpoint and participate in twice-weekly games at Willow Valley. Ever the lady, Rosa taught a manners course with Richard Minnich called Living Manners. Rosa was a devoted Catholic, never missing her daily prayers to St. Jude. The Eshelman Family extends heartfelt thanks to Erma McCauley, Connie McCauley, Doris Wright and Esther Sangrey, as well as the late Lena Stolzfus and Mabel Horst, who throughout their lives were treasured members of her extended family. The Family also appreciates the Willow Valley and Penn Medicine medical teams, Caring Hospice and the wonderful friends who cared for their mother before and throughout her time at Willow Valley and especially in her final days. A memorial service will be held at her beloved Lancaster Country Club, 1466 New Holland Pike, Lancaster on Friday, May 5, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. Please visit Rosa’s Memorial Page at

Posted online on March 18, 2023

Published in York Daily Record, York Dispatch