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Forever Army: Morning Pointe of Franklin resident Rosemarie Abbott

photo of Rosemarie Abbott

Rosemarie Abbott, a resident at Morning Pointe of Franklin, Tennessee, Assisted Living, may have served in the U.S. Army for a year, but her service has had a huge impact on her whole life.


Rosemarie Abbott as a child
Rosemarie Abbott as a child


Born on Aug. 18, 1941, in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, Rosemarie had a rough childhood. Her mother passed away in childbirth with her eighth child when Rosemarie was 9 years old, and she lived with her father until she was 14. Then she and her siblings were placed in foster care.

Life improved for Rosemarie after finding a wonderful foster family.

“My foster mother was super nice,” Rosemarie said. “We lived in the country. We had every kind of animal that you could have.”

These included two pigs named George and Georgia, a calf named Frosty, 40 turkeys, geese, guinea hens, and peacocks.

She spent most of her high school years in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and gravitated toward accounting and typing classes. She earned the Bookkeeping Award in high school.

photo of Rosemarie in her Army uniform
Rosemarie in her Army uniform

Into the Army

After graduating from high school in May 1960, Rosemarie decided to join the U.S. Army. She signed up in June at age 18 and trained at Anniston, Alabama.

“I couldn’t afford to go to college,” Rosemarie said. “My foster mother wanted me to be taken care of and see that I was safe and that I had a roof over my head. She said, ‘Why don’t you join the Army?’ and I said, ‘OK.’ To me, it was like going away to college, but of course it’s a lot more than that.”

Rosemarie told the Army of her skills and inclination for clerical work, and they needed typists, so after eight weeks of Basic Training, she did six weeks of Clerk Typist training. After graduating, Rosemarie was assigned to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Her job: typing training manuals.

“They were secret, and I couldn’t tell anybody what I was typing,” Rosemarie said.

Her supervisor was an older redheaded female Major, who gave Rosemarie someone to look up to and know that women could be respected in the military as well as men.

“She was really a nice person,” Rosemarie remembered, “but if you did something wrong or you came in late, you were put on report, so I was always on time. I didn’t want to be chewed out.”

Army life was a big and positive change for Rosemarie, who arrived very shy. She got used to and thoroughly enjoyed marching. She enjoyed the structure and developed  habits of cleanliness and order that she has maintained over the years.

“I still make my bed the same way I did in the Army,” she said.

The Army also presented new challenges in the area of relationships. She had never been on a date before, and suddenly she had several young men asking her out. One of these young men, Gerald Abbott, captured her heart.

“His barracks was right next to mine,” Rosemarie remembered. “They had an NCO [Non-Commissioned Officers] Club behind the barracks. We met there.”

photo of Rosemarie and her husband, Gerald (left), on their wedding day
Rosemarie and her husband, Gerald (left), on their wedding day

Rosemarie and Gerald married in 1961 and went to visit his family in Vernon, Texas. “His parents were lovely people,” Rosemarie said. “They treated me like their daughter instead of daughter-in-law.”

It didn’t take long for Rosemarie to become pregnant, which in those days meant she couldn’t stay in the Army. She honorably discharged as a Private First Class. She gave birth to her daughter, Brenda, at Reece Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas, where Gerald was going to school.

The Abbotts went on to have two sons, Gregg and Michael. And their family has since expanded to include a daughter-in-law, Robin, son-in-law, Mark, and three granddaughters. Rosemarie and Gerald were married for more than 44 years when he passed away in 2006.

photo of Gerald and Rosemarie with their children
Gerald and Rosemarie with their two oldest children

Further Career and Hobbies

Rosemarie still wishes she could have stayed longer in the Army, but she did continue to put her skills to use throughout the years in clerical jobs. One of those was five years as a long-distance operator for Southwestern Bell, the precursor to AT&T.

Her last employment was 20 years with a family-owned company, Grove Employment Company, which furnished temporary workers. She did payroll, accounts receivable, and accounts payable.

“I did between 150 and 500 checks each week,” Rosemarie said.

Outside of work, she loves to cook and bake, a passion she has passed on to one of her granddaughters.

“When she was like 4, she had a little chair she stood on,” Rosemarie said. “She’d go get her chair and push it up to the cabinet, get a whisk and a spatula out of the drawer, put her little apron on and say, ‘I’m ready! Let’s cook!’”

photo of Rosemarie at a corn maze
Rosemarie at a corn maze

Coming to Morning Pointe

In 2022, Rosemarie was living with her son when she discovered she had Parkinson’s disease. She was advised not to drive anymore, so she sold her car. She started having blackouts along with her disease and spent some time in the hospital.

Her neurologist helped her control her Parkinson’s, but she and her family decided it would be safest for her to move to an assisted living community. They chose Morning Pointe of Franklin, Tennessee, because of the friendliness they felt on visiting. She moved in on April 25, 2023.

Still, moving into assisted living wasn’t an easy decision.

“At first, I just dug my feet in and said, ‘I’m not going to like being there at all,’ but come to find out this is just perfect for me,” Rosemarie said. “I’m being watched over by the people here, and they’re just wonderful. It’s a super place to be if you have to be in assisted living. Everybody here is so nice.”

With her Parkinson’s, Rosemarie takes inspiration from actor Michael J. Fox, who has found a way to have a fulfilling life even with PD.

“If he can do it, I can do it too,” she said.

photo of Rosemarie holding her Army portrait
Rosemarie holding her Army portrait

At Morning Pointe, Rosemarie especially enjoys doing puzzles and exercises, as well as going on outings.

“I like the schedules because it keep you in a routine,” she said. “I think that when we reach a certain age, we need to have a routine. It just keeps you going.”

In looking back on her life, Rosemarie shared she is most proud of her children and that they all turned out well.

“I think if you raise kids who are decent humans and are kind to everybody, they are not depending on you for their living, I think that’s good,” she said.

Rosemarie, we appreciate your conscientiousness and service to your country and to future generations. Thank you for being part of our Morning Pointe family!

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