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School 09


Rosemary (Heselton) Nelson

July 7, 1943 ~ December 9, 2018 (age 75)

Rosemary Nelson, age 75, passed away on Sunday, December 9, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota from stroke complications.   Rosemary was born on July 7, 1943 to Basil and Susan (Voegele) Heselton in Faribault, Minnesota.  She graduated from Bethlehem Academy in Faribault in 1961, earned a B.A. in English from the College of St. Theresa in Winona, Minnesota in 1965, followed by a M.A. in Library Science from the University of Denver in 1967.

Rosemary joined the Phoenix Public Library System in Arizona in 1970, working at the Yucca Branch.  She was quickly noticed for her leadership ability and innovative thinking.  In the early 1990’s she co-led the team that worked with architect Will Bruder to design and build the iconic Burton Barr Central Library in downtown Phoenix, and held the position of Director of the Phoenix Central Library until her retirement in 2006. 

Rosemary moved back to Minnesota in 2014 to be near her brother and sisters.  She was preceded in death by her mother and father, sister, Helen Mahowald and brother-in-law, Roy Mahowald.  Rosemary is survived by her children, Sarah Nelson of Phoenix, AZ, Kristin (Jesus) Damian of Houston, TX, brother, John B. (Carol) Heselton of Faribault, MN, sister, Sue (Tom) Melchior of Shakopee, MN, and grandson Skylar of Phoenix, AZ.  She also leaves behind many loving nieces and nephews. 

A memorial gathering for Rosemary will be held on Saturday, December 29, 2018 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at the Parker Kohl Funeral Home in Faribault.

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