Rosie was born in Burns on July 10, 1924, to Martin and Martina Ramirez, the third of five children. Her childhood was spent at the Commercial Hotel, her parents’ Basque boarding house. She and her siblings, Elias, Elisa, Maria (Mimy), and Josephine, had many adventures during those years at the Commercial.
Rosie spent her entire life in Burns, with the exception of a few short years when she lived in Portland. She attended Burns Grade School and Burns High School, from which she graduated in 1942. After high school, she and her sister, Mimy, and best friend, Jeannie Mace (Scrivner) moved to Portland where she worked at various jobs, including that of a nurse’s aide, as her contribution to the war effort.
After returning to Burns, she married a cute southern boy by the name of Mac Runnels, who was fresh out of the Navy. They were married June 5, 1948, in a double wedding ceremony with her sister, Mimy, and Roman Yriarte. Soon after, they started their family. Their children, Becky, Pam, Bill, and Pete, became their focus, as they settled in to raise their family.
Rosie worked at US Bank for more than 20 years as a teller, where she was loved by her co-workers and customers alike. Because of her petite stature, and despite the fact that she always wore her beloved high heel shoes, she had a platform built for her in her teller window so that she could see over the counter! Rosie retired from US Bank in 1986.
Rosie volunteered her time and talents in her community all of her life. Even while working full time at the bank and raising her family, she helped with school parties, led Brownie Scout and Boy Scout troops, led 4-H clubs, and taught religion classes. After her retirement, she was even busier. She was a Book Buddy at Slater School. She was a life-long and faithful member of Holy Family Catholic Church. She headed up Festival of Faith committees, Mardi Gras dinners, Christmas bazaars, served Senior Center lunches and served as a Eucharistic Minister and took Communion to shut-in parishioners. She was very proud of her Basque heritage and for many years she was a dedicated member of the Basque Club and worked to raise money for scholarships for local students by cooking for Basque dinners and Basque picnics.
She was an original member of PRIDE — Positive Results from Innovation, Determination and Energy. She helped start Downtown Design and Development Committee to enhance the downtowns of Burns and Hines. That committee was the instigator of Pocket Park, where she spent many hours weeding and planting. This same group worked very hard for improvements to Washington Park, getting new picnic tables and landscape work done. She worked tirelessly on getting the first round of planters and benches on Broadway. She also helped with three downtown building restorations, and helped to establish the revolving loan fund to improve building fronts and support murals. In 2001, she received the Senior Woman of the Year Award.
Above all, Rosie was a devoted wife and mother. Family was everything to Rosie. Her home was the gathering place, not just for her own family, but for her ENTIRE family — parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, and friends. Every Christmas dinner, every Thanksgiving dinner, every birthday, was held at her home. Rosie had an abundance of love that she gave freely to all that she encountered. She was a happy person and always had a smile on her face. Her 11 grandchildren were the light of her life and their pictures were proudly displayed throughout her home. She doted on them and lovingly waited on them.
After their retirement, Mac and Rosie were able to travel to many locations around the world, something that they very much loved to do. Many fond memories were made during those years.
In 2005, Rosie’s life changed dramatically when she lost her beloved husband, Mac. She continued to live an active and independent life for several more years until her health began to fail. It seemed impossible that anything could slow down this little 4’10” dynamo, but such is life. The past five years of her life were spent at Ashley Manor, where she was loved and cared for by their loving staff of caregivers.
Rosie is survived by her children, Becky Glerup (Dave), Pam Glerup (Roger), Bill Runnels, and Pete Runnels (Cheryl), all of Burns/Hines; 11 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; sister, Josephine Hagedorn of Bend; sister-in-law, Dixie Runnels of Burns; numerous nieces and nephews; and many friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Mac; parents, Martin Ramirez and Martina Larraneta; brother, Elias Ramirez; sister, Elisa Cruz; and sister, Maria Wooldridge.
Contributions in her memory may be made to Holy Family Catholic Church or to a charity of one’s choice.