Friday, October 16, 2020

Remembering MarySue Helstern Rosenberger

MarySue Helstern Rosenberger, registered nurse, author, ordained minister, and chaplain, died at home in Westerville, Ohio, on Sunday, October 11, following a lengthy illness with pulmonary fibrosis.

Born on March 10, 1940 in Dayton, Ohio, the daughter of Russell and Vinna Bowers Helstern, she lived her childhood years in a rural location outside of Brookville, Ohio. 

She married Bruce Rosenberger in 1968 and they are the parents of two sons, Luke (Julie) of Boerne, Texas, and Joel of Athens, Ohio. They have one granddaughter, Leah Rosenberger of Austin, Texas. 

MarySue received a BA in biology from Manchester College in 1962 and continued her education in Cleveland, Ohio, earning a BS in nursing from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing in 1964.

Mary Sue worked as a nurse at University Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio from May 1964 until June 1965. As a member of Brethren Volunteer Service she served as a nurse at a hospital operated by the Vietnamese Protestant Church in NhaTrang, Vietnam from 1966 until 1967. After returning from VietNam she worked as a nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital, Dayton, Ohio.  During the years that she raised her two sons she worked part time in Wayne Hospital, Greenville, Ohio, as well as several different nursing homes and care facilities.

From 1981 until 1985 she served as the founding director of Hospice of Darke County (now State of the Heart Care Hospice) in Ohio - the first rural-based hospice in the United States serving an all rural population.

Following her graduation with a Master of Ministry degree from Earlham School of Religion 1993 she served as one of the chaplains of Brethren Retirement Community, Greenville, Ohio.

After her retirement MarySue and Bruce lived full-time for ten years in a fifth-wheel travel trailer which provided many opportunities for sightseeing and out-of-doors activities. During those years she became one of the pastors of Living Stream Church of the Brethren, a church that meets exclusively online, where she served from 2014 until 2018. 

Her published writings include…

In the Brethren Press Covenant Bible series:

  • Abundant Living: Wellness from a Biblical Perspective
  • Fruit of the Spirit
  • The Lord’s Prayer

And a variety of other books including: 

  • Lo I am With You Always… even to the end and old age
  • Harmless as Doves: Witnessing for Peace in Vietnam  
  • Sacraments in My Refrigerator
  • Journey of Faith Eighty-Five Years and Beyond: A History of The Brethren’s Home, Greenville, Ohio 1902-1987
  • Caring: A History of Brethren Homes 1889-1989
  • That They Might Have Life: A History of Brethren Health and Welfare Association  
  • Light of the Spirit: The Brethren in Puerto RIco, 1942 to 1992 

Because of the current pandemic Bruce is discouraging in-person visits. However he will be “at home” and welcomes visits by Zoom video call daily Monday, October 12 through Thursday, October 15, between 7 and 9 pm Eastern time at  Please feel free to stop in Bruce’s Zoom Room, greet, and leave. Or feel welcome to sit for a while with those who grieve.

An online memorial service is planned for Friday, October 16, at 8:00 pm Eastern time; 7:00 pm Central; 6:00 pm Mountain; 5:00 Pacific time. Join us at this link - Memorial for MarySue.  If you cannot be with us live, you may access the recorded archive at the same link. A time for visiting with Bruce and the family by Zoom will follow the memorial service. 

In keeping with her wishes, her body has been donated for research and education. 

Memorial gifts may be made to Living Stream Church of the Brethren.