Rose VanCleave has outlived three husbands, survived breast cancer twice, dug herself out of a blizzard and helped pave the way for modern heart surgery. And that’s just the start of her story.
Sitting in her recliner in her comfortable home on the west side of Newcastle, Rose greeted the entourage of guests spilling through her front door. Today is her 90th birthday and family members have driven or flown in from Oregon, Denver, Arizona and beyond to help celebrate the milestone. The party isn’t until Saturday, but many have arrived a few days early to take advantage of the occasion.
The house is alive with activity. Rose’s daughter Donna Baker and granddaughter Mona Corr are on kitchen duty, which means putting away dishes and warming up the arsenal of casseroles for the evening meal. A jumble of grandchildren head out the door to go pick up a few groceries while the adults settle into the couches and chairs.