Don ‘Rosie’ Rosenburg

October 14, 1940 – February 20, 2021
Imagine taking a drive on the scenic Telkwa High Road in the 1980’s. After crossing the one-lane bridge over Reiseter Creek, you would come to a sawblade sign painted ‘Rosie’s Mill’. There you would find Don Rosenburg and pal Steve Monds milling timber that they had horse-logged the winter before.
While you were there, Zingo the dog might arrive carrying a brown bag lunch sent up by Don’s wife, Jane. The boys, Dale and Neal, might arrive home on the school bus and pitch in.
The horse-logging team might saunter over to see if you had brought them some carrots – Pat, a big white Percheron and Raven, a smaller black mare. Rosie’s wood beams and planks were custom cut for owner-built homes throughout the valley.
Rosie’s mill yard accumulated great piles of timber slabs and Don was known for holding parties with huge bonfires in ‘Moose Meadow’ – accessible via the ‘Yellow Chip Road’. Rosie was one of Mark Perry’s ‘Highroad people who could dance all night’ at Glenwood Hall or at the Mid-Summer Music Festival. Rosie was always open to a humor-filled visit and many old friends are going to miss him and reminisce about him.
Donald Charles Rosenburg was born October 14, 1940 in Victoria BC to Charles Fredrick Rosenburg and Laura Amanda Dale. His father was a store manager in Carmacks, Yukon, and this is where younger brother Murray was born. The family later moved back to Victoria, where Don apprenticed as a millwright. Don took a job in Prince George where he married Mary Jane Madill.
Don and Jane bought a property near Smithers and moved their two infant boys into an old farmhouse on the Telkwa Highroad that had an outhouse and no electricity. Don worked as a millwright in Smithers until ready to try out horse logging and his own sawmill.
The family built their homestead on a scenic bluff overlooking the Bulkley River where there was abundant spring water that Jane used to grow beautiful vegetables.
Don was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease while in his early 40’s. He put up a long, but cheerful, fight against this debilitating disease, eventually having Deep Brain Stimulation surgery. Jane developed a rare auto-immune arthritis that eventually required a move into Smithers for the couple. Don remained active, riding his recumbent bike all over town. He remained Jane’s caregiver until her death.
Not long after, a friend took Don on a trip to La Isla, Cuba, where Don met and fell in love with Maria Manfarrol, a Cuban physician. Don had a whole new lease on life and returned to Cuba often. Don and Maria were married in 2013 and thereafter were inseparable.
Don did not know Spanish but, he still charmed Maria’s family and friends. They spent half the year in Smithers and half in Cuba, opening a Bed and Breakfast in Havana.
They settled in Smithers full-time when the travel became too difficult for Don. Maria became proficient at a new language and began Nursing preparatory courses at Coast Mountain College. Don was using a power scooter and wheelchair by this time. When COVID-19 hit, Maria quit working and she and Don went into isolation at home.
Maria gave Don her full-time care until his death February 20, 2021. Don was 80 and had survived Parkinson’s disease for nearly 40 years.
Don leaves behind his wife (Maria), son (Donald Dale, wife Jennifer and son Zachari), son (Clayton Neal) of Smithers and brother (Murray, wife Leslie Nunn, son Dale) of Surrey BC.
A small family Memorial Service was held at Bethel Reformed Church. When COVID-19 safely permits, a celebration of life will be held for Rosie out on the Telkwa High Road. Save your photos, songs, and Rosie stories for then!


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