Rosalie D. Emrich, champion country club golfer and a whiz in the kitchen, dies of coronavirus

Rosalie Emrich was women’s club golf champion seven times.
Rosalie Emrich was women’s club golf champion seven times.(Sharon Unitas)

Rosalie D. Emrich, a champion Rolling Road Country Club golfer who was also a whiz in the kitchen, where she was known for preparing meals from scratch, died May 3 from COVID-19 at Westminster Healthcare Center in Westminster. The Catonsville resident was 97.

Mrs. Emrich, who was a resident of Brightview Senior Assisted Living and Memory Care in Catonsville, fell on March 29, suffering a fractured hip that was repaired the next day at St. Agnes Hospital.


On April 3, Mrs. Emrich was sent to Westminster Healthcare Center for physical rehabilitation and physical therapy. There she contracted the coronavirus that ended her life.

“On April 22, she tested negative for COVID-19 and the next day was placed in the COVID-19 isolation unit after testing positive,” said Donna C. Fuller, a registered nurse, a longtime friend and Mrs. Emrich’s caregiver.


“She fell twice and hit her hip, and then fell again, this time hitting her head,” said Ms. Fuller, a Glyndon resident. “They refused to send her to the emergency room, and then on Sunday, May 3, they called and asked if I wanted her to go to the ER. She was dehydrated, and in the two minutes, believe it or not, to ask for a transfer, she was gone. It should never have happened.”

The former Rosalie Juanita Downes, daughter of Willard Downes, an artist and farmer, and his wife, Rosalie Kaiser Downes, a seamstress who worked during World Wars I and II making pants for military uniforms, was born in Fredericksburg and raised on the family farm.

After graduating in 1940 from Fredericksburg High School, she worked as a civilian secretary during World War II at the Navy’s Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia. After the war, she was a model for Bloomingdales department store and worked as an advertising model for her brother’s advertising agency.

In 1947, she married Charles “Goody” Emrich, a sales equipment representative, and in 1959, the couple built their home on Rolling Road, with an upper and lower patio affording them a splendid view of the annual July Fourth fireworks at the Rolling Road Country Club and the Catonsville community fireworks, Ms. Fuller said.

An avid gardener, Mrs. Emrich presided over a rose garden and a fish pond and furnished two floors in her home with plants. She was also proud of her homegrown tomatoes, Ms. Fuller said.

When the Rolling Road Country Club, which was founded in 1919, was in danger of closing in the 1960s, she and her husband, who were stockholders, helped in the effort that resulted in the club’s remaining open.

An accomplished and competitive golfer, Mrs. Emrich was women’s club golf champion seven times, plus various other golf championships. She was a longtime member of the Women’s Gin Rummy Card Club that met weekly at the club.

During the 1960s, Mrs. Emrich and her husband became close friends of Robert Slaght, also an accomplished golfer and champion, and his wife, Barbara Slaght, who were also Rolling Road Country Club members.

Mr. Emrich died in 1999, and after Mr. Slaght’s wife died in 2005, Mrs. Emrich and Mr. Slaght began dating.

“He sold his house and moved in with Rosalie,” said Ms. Fuller, who is Mr. Slaght’s daughter.

Mrs. Emrich and Mr. Slaght enjoyed traveling to visit family members, watching cooking shows on the Food Network and golf on TV, taking Sunday drives, eating steamed crabs and picnicking. They enjoyed weekly dinners at the club with friends and their Friday nights at home, always beginning with a game of gin rummy, followed by cocktails at 5 p.m., and rounded of with one of Mrs. Emrich’s home-cooked dinners.

“She liked staying at home Friday nights and not going out,” Ms. Fuller said. “She made wonderful crabcakes and goulash. And she always served green beans that she had specially seasoned. Green beans don’t exactly go with Chinese food, but she served them anyway.”


Mrs. Emrich was also an animal lover and cat fancier. Years ago, when her mother, who was also a cat lover, lived with her, the two women would summon a cab.

“The driver would take the two cats to a salon weekly where they received a cut and fluff, bows and painted toenails,” Ms. Fuller said. “Then the cabdriver would bring them home.”

She liked watching the birds and feeding squirrels with leftover rolls she had brought home from the club. One squirrel, a regular, “learned how to climb on the screen and bang to be fed,” Ms. Fuller said.

A series of strokes in recent years left Mrs. Emrich voiceless, but “she was still able to make her wishes known,” Ms. Fuller said. “She was always smiling and was a feisty woman who was just fun to be around. She was incredible and just happy to be alive and being with family and friends. She never complained.”

A virtual memorial service was held May 9, and plans for a celebration life gathering to be held in the future are incomplete because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to Mr. Slaght and Ms. Fuller, Mrs. Emrich is survived by many nieces and nephews.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun