Rose Marie Debevc, age 96, of Madison, OH, passed away on Sunday, November 12, 2017, at her home. Born April 29, 1921, she was the daughter of Paul Petrovic and Rose Sega. She married Tony Joseph Debevc in 1943.
Together, Rose and Tony owned and operated Chalet Debonne Winery along with their son Tony and daughter-in-law Beth. It was the first winery in the Grand River Valley region, established in 1972. One of the most respected wineries in the country, it has earned numerous accolades. The Debevc's were named the first "American Wine Family of the Year" in 1985 in the national trade publication Vineyard and Winery Management. They were inducted into the Ohio Wine Hall of Fame.
Rose and Tony enjoyed dancing polkas and playing pinochle with their large group of friends. They would take their boat fishing on Lake Erie and to their condo on Marblehead. Rose and Tony were world travelers and enjoyed motor coach trips across the country. Their children were raised educated, responsible and hard working. Family was first and Rose ensured her home was filled with love and support.
Rose was truly a women before her time. She was smart, savvy and had an incredible work ethic. In another era, she might have been president of a major corporation. Through her life, she was passionate about her family and the winery. She committed herself to causes that impacted her life and those of her family.
As a 'city girl' she was determined that her children fully enjoyed their life on the farm but wanted to make sure they had the opportunity to experience the world beyond their South Madison home. Drives into Cleveland via SR 84 to visit family often meant visits to the History Museum and every Easter Sunday included parading around the Art Museum pond. Christmas time always included a trip to downtown Cleveland to see the Sterling Lindner tree and the Higbees' and May Company window displays. Often lunch meant a stop at Halle's Tea Room where she had worked after high school.
During the first years of their marriage, there was no electricity in their little house, but her table was usually decorated with a vase of flowers that dad had picked earlier in the day. When the possibility of phone service (including a 10 party line) was discussed, she, almost single handedly, made sure that 7743 Doty Road was serviced with a phone number of 5525. When the old SR 528 Grand River Bridge was condemned and her children had to exit the school bus to walk across the bridge each day, she organized the ladies of the Hilltoppers Club and led the charge to get the high level bridge constructed.
She was frugal: every year meant canning literally hundreds of quarts of peaches, pears and tomatoes. She sewed beautifully and made amazing apple strudels and Slovenian poticas. She managed the 'books' of the winery well into her eighties and helped the business prosper.
Her faith was strong and instilled that into her children. She was tough: despite a bout with polio as a small child, it never slowed her down.
One of our fondest memories is watching Mom and Dad glide across a dance floor like they were skating on ice. She learned to drive in her forties so her kids could participate in school activities. She was tall and elegant and for church, always dressed to the nines, surely with a hat and sometimes with gloves. But, she was equally adept at driving a tractor through the vines as her husband walked behind with a hand held grape hoe. She was incredibly generous and kind to her entire family. She was loved so very much.
Rose is survived by her daughter, Donniella (Larry) Winchell; son, Anthony Paul (Beth) Debevc; grandchildren, Cherilyn Long, Michelle (Chad) Edgar, Mark (Stacie) Winchell, Amanda Debevc, Tony Scott (Rachael) Debevc; great-grandchildren, Victoria, Madeline and Vivien Long, Colt, Reed and Helaina Edgar and Gabriella, Genevieve and Jake Winchell; and sister Eleanor Debevc.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Tony, her parents and her siblings.
Friends will be received 5-8pm on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at Behm Family Funeral Home, 26 River Street, Madison, OH 44057. Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:00am on Friday, November 17, 2017, at Immaculate Conception Church, 2846 Hubbard Road in Madison. Rev. Sean Donnelly will officiate the service. Final resting place will be Fairview Memorial Park in Madison.
Friends may leave condolences online at www.behmfuneral.com
Published on November 13, 2017