Rosemary Petranech

Petranech, Rosemary Social Justice Advocate, Rosemary Petranech Who Led a Model Affirmative Action Program at Marquette University Dies at 82. Some might say Rosemary Petranech’s moral compass was set at age eight when she snuck onto a Milwaukee streetcar to save the nickel fare for a candy bar. (Rosemary passed away Wednesday, January 10 at age 82.) Eager to report this cleverness to her father, she was shocked by his rebuke: “Is your honor worth five cents? … and the consequences: return to the station, own up to the act and pay the fare. Once ignited, this commitment to “do the right thing” found its fullest expression when Rosemary – who had held various administrative positions at the university while completing her BA degree – became the Affirmative Action Officer (later Director) of Marquette University in 1977. At her retirement party 22 years later, then-President Robert A. Wild confirmed that she had kept that promise to herself: “Rosemary has been a key force in assuring equal employment opportunities for all within the workplace as well as the advancement and development of women and minorities here at Marquette. She indeed has personified the Jesuit ideal of service to others.” Rosemary was publicly honored for her achievements in 1990 when she was inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society that recognizes excellence in scholarship, service, and loyalty. Given the dedication and list of accomplishments, one can only be amazed by the virtual armada of close friendships she found time to foster, some going back more than 60 years. Rosemary knew how to have fun and spread joy to all those around her. People were drawn to her keen intelligence, notorious wit and penchant for “wicked mischief,” as her friend, the late Psychology Department Chair Tony Kuchen, put it. But what she will be remembered for most fondly and missed for most profoundly is her heart. She gave it completely to her work, to her friends and to her family who are just beginning to feel the enormity of their loss. They include: her sister, Kate Petranech and daughter Risa Morewitz; brother Bill Petranech, his children, Mike Petranech and Pat Petranech, and his grandchildren Dorian Petranech and Robbie Petranech. A Mass and celebration of life will be held in spring. Donations in Rosemary’s name to St. Benedict the Moor, 1015 9th Street, Milwaukee, WI, 53213 would be welcomed and appreciated. To contact the family, send email to: katedirectly@gmail.com