John Anthony Rosenberger

September 25, 1938 ~ January 31, 2024 (age 85) 85 Years Old

John Rosenberger Obituary

John Anthony Rosenberger sprouted in St. Paul, MN, but became deeply rooted in Roseburg, Oregon and the Umpqua Valley. Born on September 25, 1938, to John and Leona Rosenberger, he was joined by a sister, Gail, two years later. As a family, they enjoyed many camping trips, including road trips out west to relatives in Colorado and several National Parks. These experiences sparked a taste for exploration.

After graduating from Cretin Catholic High School, John joined the U.S. Coast Guard. He served from 1957-61 at several stations in New York and the Great Lakes, before transferring west to the Lifeboat Station at the mouth of Humboldt Bay near Eureka, California. He was immensely proud of his service with the Coast Guard. 

John earned a BS in Forestry from the University of Minnesota. In addition to his studies, he also enjoyed hiking, skiing and canoeing with the outdoor group, The Fussgangers, among other friends. Lore has it that as a ski jumper he once lost a ski in mid-air and successfully landed on one ski – and  there was a photo to prove it!

He married Carole Hallen in 1964 in St. Paul. The Pacific NW pulled them, and they moved to Oregon where he earned an MLA in Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon. In Eugene he started what would become a growing family, with daughter, Karin and son, Karl.  They lived briefly in Portland, where John started his career with the U.S. Forest Service.  

In 1972 the family moved to Roseburg, where he  resided for the rest of his life. Following John and Carole’s divorce, he left the Forest Service and had his own private landscape practice for a time before returning to the Forest Service. In 1977 John married  Nada Gohn and added five stepchildren: Jeff, Mike, Cathi, Chris and Carol.

John’s landscape design projects through his private practice and the Umpqua National Forest in the Roseburg area included countless local residences, city parks or municipal/commercial grounds and around many regional Forest Service facilities. Notably, he designed the current Diamond Lake Campground and landscape for the Steamboat Inn and Umpqua Valley Arts. The red oak trees in the boulevard on Jackson  and Commercial Streets, where he lived, are a result of John’s suggestion to the City. In his own words, he described himself as a generalist, “concerned with the relationship between people and their natural and  man-made environment.”

Once retired, he made frequent drives from Oregon to Minnesota to visit his parents and family – and to explore the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness – where he introduced his children, nieces and  nephews (and their kids) to canoeing and camping ethics, including freeze-dried “astronaut food.” 

Another retirement focus for John was the Motley Crew, a group of retired Forest Service employees that maintained many of the trails through the Umpqua National Forest. During this time, John lived for his Thursdays which took him into the forest.

After Nada passed in 2010, he met and enjoyed a deep and special relationship with Joy Price until his end. With Joy he was blessed to grow his family yet again and to be occasionally immersed with young ones that he could “terrorize” with his beard (a prominent facial feature since 1964) and “bunny-nose” twitches. Among other large and small adventures, he and Joy had fun traveling and landscaping her yard, then (finally) his yard.

John was prim and proper, a deep and stoic man of very few words, who carried a large presence. In his later years his gooey heart seeped out and he was full of laughter and childish giggles. Blessed were those who were fortunate to know him.

John died peacefully in his sleep at home on January 31, 2024. He is survived by his sister (Gail Zimmer); children: Karin (Stuart) Jennings and Karl Rosenberger; stepchildren: Jeff (Gail) Gohn, Mike (Cindy)  Gohn, Cathi (Bob) Schatz, Chris (Sean) Mackey and Carol Michael; Joy Price; and countless grand- and great-grand-children.

A service with military honors will occur on Friday, March 8, 2024, at 10 a.m. at the Committal Shelter near the Annex at the National Cemetery in Roseburg (for directions, search map app for Annex), where his remains will be interred in the columbarium wall. A reception will follow at Umpqua Valley Arts (1624 W. Harvard Avenue).

John’s family would like to express gratitude to his medical providers (specifically Shannon Trammel, Chuck McGlade, the staff at the Mercy Infusion Clinic and Nicole Hill), the staff and colleagues at Fitness First (where he religiously went on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) and Forget-Me-Not Village for their recent friendships, laughter and exercise classes.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in John’s name to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Jefferson Public Radio, or the Umpqua Valley Arts – or to honor John’s love of horticulture and the outdoors, plant and tend a shrub or tree in your yard or place of choice.

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