Rozella M. (Grubbs) Heitger, 69, of Harrison, OH, passed away in Springfield, MO, on April 2, 2013. Rozella was born March 28, 1944, in Hamilton, OH, to Irene (Gauck) and Howard S. Grubbs, who both preceded her in death. Surviving immediate family members include her husband Les, whom she married on June 11, 1966, son Dan and daughter-in-law Jeanette of Oxford, OH, and their three children Allyson (15), Hannah (11), and Jack (8); daughter Christy Ewing and son-in-law Eric of Avon, IN, and their two sons Kyler (8) and Trevyn (2); and brothers Larry and Dwight Grubbs of Harrison, OH.
Rozella graduated second in her class from William Henry Harrison High School. She then went to Miami University to study elementary education. On April 12, 1963, she went home with her college roommate for Easter weekend and met her husband, Les, on a blind date. It was love at first sight. At the beginning of her junior year, she transferred to Ohio State where she earned her degree in Education. She then moved to Denver, CO, where she taught second and third grade while her husband earned a MBA. Next, she moved to East Lansing, MI, where she taught fourth grade in Lansing Public Schools while her husband earned a Ph.D. in Business.
In 1972, Rozella and Les moved to Bloomington, IN, with their new son Dan where Les started teaching in the Indiana University Business School. Rozella then embarked on her most important career-raising her children and enjoying them to the fullest. A year and a half after arriving in Bloomington, her daughter, Christy, was born and Rozella became a full-time wonderful mother. She was extremely active in her children's school activities. The homemade, hand-decorated Christmas cookies that she intricately decorated for classroom parties were legendary. She also baked the yummiest cake for the school carnival's Cake Walk. Every year, Dan and Christy made it their mission to win back their mom's cake. On the years they weren't successful, they would be so dejected. But Rozella just smiled and said, "Don't worry. When we get home, I'll make another."
When Christy started to school, she would return home each afternoon, eager to tell her mom about the day's events. Both Rozella and Christy treasured this "chit-chatting" tradition, which carried on throughout Christy's entire school career.
In 1981, Rozella and her family purchased a summer place on Mullett Lake in northern Michigan. From then on, the family has spent summers enjoying one another at their haven away from home. When Dan and Christy started families of their own, the lake became a destination of choice for every member of the family, which now totals five grandchildren. Mom was the lie-in-bed-with-the-grandkids, story-telling, back-scratching queen. Plus, her boundless energy was inspiring-the way she constantly played, cooked, baked, laughed, and loved.
Rozella's love for and commitment to her grandchildren extended to everyday life throughout the year, though she was perhaps the happiest when hanging out with them at the lake. Without question, the grandkids adored Grandma's enthusiasm for lake life. For instance, if they wanted to set up a tent at the cabin-either indoors or outdoors-she was up for the adventure, excited to experience it with them, even if it resulted in a sore back and stiff muscles come morning. If the kids requested to play a dozen straight games of Clue, Uno, or Kickball, she was all in. Grandma was even known to occasionally jump in the lake, fully clothed, for no other reason than to amuse her grandchildren. She swam with them, even if the water was frigid. She took them fishing, cheering each time someone reeled in even the tiniest of perch. She played endless games of cards while sprawled out in the Sea Ray's cuddy cabin. She swung in the hammock with the kids, played water volleyball, coached them in pinochle, and always packed the best boat picnics. More than anything, she demonstrated to us all, on a daily basis, how to squeeze every bit of enjoyment out of life.
Rozella was a caring, empathetic, supportive, and happy person who made an impression on everyone she met. An amazing number of people who only met her once or twice have vivid memories of what a thoughtful, sweet, and uplifting person she was. Even those who barely knew her note what a treasure she was. Just this week, someone commented that the first time he met Rozella, he felt like he was meeting an old friend he had known for years.
Rozella had a warm smile, childlike innocence, and welcoming spirit that emanated through her beautiful brown eyes. She enjoyed traveling, gardening, baking, boating, and going to the movies, but nothing trumped her most treasured role as wife, mother, and grandmother. The pride and love she had for her family was immeasurable and never-ending.
Friends may call at the Day Funeral Home, 4150 E. Third St., Bloomington, from 4-8 p.m. on Sunday, April 7. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, April 8, at Faith Lutheran Church, 2200 S. High St., Bloomington. Visitation at the church will precede the service (9:30-10:30 a.m.). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the ASPCA, in memory of Rozella M. Heitger.