Rosemary Kowalsky

Rosemary Alfreda Kowalsky (nee Stephens) was born in St James in 1920, the daughter of a Canadian Great War Veteran and an English mother. She was the second youngest in a family of one boy and four girls. She always wanted to be an artist when she grew up. She attended St. James High School and Tech Voc, where she met her future husband Cliff. After Cliff enlisted in 1939 and shipped out she worked as a clerk until 1942 when she enlisted in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps. She went off to war from the CPR station on Higgins Avenue. She trained in Ottawa as a signaller and left for London in 1944 just in time for the V bomb blitz. The ride over the Atlantic was bumpy, as U boats chased the troop ship she was on.

In London she worked in an office under Trafalgar square, sending and receiving messages in Morse code. She was able to reunite with Cliff in March 1945 when he was granted leave for 10 days to London.

In July 1945, she was demobilised and began raising a family, eventually 3 boys and a girl. She and Cliff got their VLA Land grant in the early 1950’s and built a house at 41 Bowhill Lane where she lived for the rest of her life. She was active in the community, Charleswood United Church and the Charleswood Legion, the Charleswood Art Group, also teaching art lessons.

After the children grew up, Rosemary returned to her love of drawing and painting, and graduated from the University of Manitoba with an Honours degree in Fine Arts in 1974. She went on to a long career as a renowned Winnipeg painter, and her works are held in many organizations, including the Winnipeg Art Gallery, The University of Calgary Nickle Gallery, Heritage Canada, and many private corporations and churches, including a large painting which still hangs in the foyer in Charleswood United Church.

Rosemary passed away in October 2006 and is buried alongside her husband Cliff in the Veteran’s Field of Honour in Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg.

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