Rosalie Irma (Pagel) Nesbitt died peacefully at Yuma District Hospital on April 2, 2020 in Yuma, Colorado at the age of 88.
Born on February 10, 1932 at their home north of Yuma, Rosalie was the eighth of nine children born to Carl and Cora Viola (Jennings) Pagel. She was baptized, confirmed, and married at St. John’s Lutheran Church, where she served faithfully and sang tenor in the choir for many years.
She was educated through 8th grade at St. John’s Lutheran School, where she learned to sing harmony and play piano, trombone, and accordion. She attended Yuma High School, where she played second-chair trombone behind Keith Mitchell. She loved recounting the story of how she got to shine as first chair when he finally put the trombone away for the sports season. In addition to music, one of her favorite pastimes was playing softball with friends behind the church and in high school tournaments.
While visiting California with her parents in the summer of 1949, she met the love of her life — a dashing Navy sailor named William Paul Nesbitt. He followed Rosalie back to Yuma, where they were married on December 27, 1949. The couple owned and operated a Sinclair service station for a few years, and Nesbitt’s Auto Wrecking & Salvage Yard for 57 years. Bill loved teasing Rosalie by calling her “Old Woman” or “Lucy Belle.” One year she gave him a surprise by dyeing her hair red, because he’d joked for years that he wanted a redheaded secretary. Bill and Rosalie were blessed with three children, Alice Joy, born November 6, 1950; Rodney Paul, born December 10, 1954; and Camilla Ann, born February 27, 1961. They were married for 65 years.
Rosalie was known to her family and friends as an exceptionally warm-hearted, loving, generous woman who opened her home to everyone. She loved making a variety of pies for church, friends, and family. Her signature dessert was cherry icebox pie, but she made a fantastic peanut butter meringue as well. At the age of 87, she made 23 pies for the Lutheran food booth at the Yuma County Fair! She was also famous for making delicious homemade ice cream for the Yuma Museum’s Ice Cream Social, as well as chocolate-covered peanuts and candy orange slices, and “En-juh-ladas” for her family. Rosalie showered love on friends and family with homemade Polyester tied quilts and embroidered tea towels. She had a knack for numbers and took pride in her bookkeeping skills, loved collecting Depression glass, and more recently anticipated winning during Monday-night Bingo. Holidays gave her the opportunity to delight her grandchildren and the children of Yuma. She and Rodney sold seasonal items, including peaches, fireworks, pumpkins, gourds, and Christmas trees. For several years the Nesbitts’ Christmas decorations included a live nativity and Santa’s sleigh, where Rosalie made an appearance as Mrs. Claus and handed out mini candy canes. On Halloween their yard was filled with jack-o-lanterns and Rosalie loved handing out homemade popcorn balls to her trick-or-treaters. Her grandchildren fondly remember being driven to Boughman’s Bakery for after-school donuts in her big yellow Lincoln, which they called the “Banana Boat.” Grandma Lucy loved spending time with her grandchildren, reading to them, giving them $2 bills, calling those far away to sing Happy Birthday, supplying bread to feed to the ducks in Lake Yuma, rocking them and singing Rock-A-Bye Baby all while patting them firmly on the back.
Left to mourn her passing are her daughters Alice Tuell, Camilla Kitzman and husband Kenny, daughter-in-law Gayle Nesbitt Domingue and husband Jeff, brother Eddie Pagel and wife Carrie, grandchildren Cora Beth Schroer and husband Michael, Amanda Stepanek and husband Chad, Cassie Iliff and husband Mike, Jacob Kitzman and wife Samantha, David Kitzman, William Tuell, Katherine Spillman and husband Aaron, Ryan Nesbitt, Adam Kitzman, great-grandchildren Natalie and Lauren Schroer, Alison and Eliott Stepanek, Faith and Emily Iliff, Lexi, Carli & Asher (twins), and Jason Kitzman, and Zoee Spillman, as well as many nieces, nephews, family members and a host of friends.
Rosalie was preceded in death by her parents, Carl and Cora Viola Pagel, husband William Nesbitt, son Rodney Nesbitt, son-in-law Ted Tuell, brothers Raymond, Ivan, Leonard, Walter, and Clifford, and sisters Mildred Pagel and Margie Green.
A memorial service for Rosalie will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made out to St. John’s Lutheran Church or the Yuma Museum. The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at Yuma District Hospital for their care and kindness.
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