Born in Springfield, MA March 21, 1927 to Herman and Rosel (Bock) Buchholz . She was second of three children, older brother Joseph, and younger sister Dorothea. “Rosie” was an adventurous child, spending happy days swimming, fishing and ice skating with her siblings in the local ponds under the close watch of her doting father. She attended schools in Springfield.
At the age of eighteen she took a clerk-typist job with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Washington, D.C. The OSS was precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency. Rosie occasionally spent time at the Congressional Country Club, (known then as Area F) in Bethesda, Maryland, the primary OSS training facility. She used to say she “went swimming in the pool there”. Was Rosel a secret agent? We’ll never know! On December 14, 2016, the OSS was collectively honored with a Congressional Gold Medal.
After the war ended she met and married Armand LaPalme a WW II army veteran and resident of East Springfield. Two years later they moved with their first child, Robert, from her mother’s house on Mulberry Street in Springfield to Sylvester road in the West Farms area of Northampton. Stephen was born shortly thereafter followed by daughter Annemarie.
Rosie had a sharp eye for a good deal. She and Armand made the winning bid to purchase property on Sylvester road at public auction in large part due to her quick wit and attention to detail. The LaPalme’s spent many happy years on the land raising livestock and managing the forest under the guidance of state forester Gill Bliss. Armand and Rosie’s vision for the property was realized many years later when through the family’s efforts, it became the cornerstone of the town’s “Mineral Hills Conservation Area”. When called for she rounded up escaped livestock and in a pinch performed emergency care on the horses. She was a prolific and eclectic reader and loved the power of the written word.
As deaconess in the Florence Congregational Church she made handcrafted items and baked goods for church fairs annually. Her kindness, generosity and love for family and friends made her volunteer activities a special joy in her life. She provided guidance and assistance to anyone in need in the West Farms area and beyond, always with a smile.
Volunteerism and service to others blanketed her life. She was a prolific seamstress, designing patterns using newsprint and sewing clothes for herself, family and friends. Her creativity led to many prize winning Halloween costumes at the West Farms Community Center. She was a key member of the community group that established the Center. Her talent for sewing was shared with youth through leading 4-H. She was on the board for Howe 4-H Camp for many years.
Rosie and Armand co-owned the West Farms general store “Miller’s Market” with close friends and neighbors Joe and Barbara Vaznis for a few years. Later Rosie was hired as the Smith College library new accessions staff person, a position she was proud to hold and from which she eventually retired.
Mom’s community service included a time as a trustee with County Aid to Agriculture, and she was elected as a member to the Republican Ward Committee from Ward Seven in Northampton.
The family land was a designated Tree Farm and we sold Christmas trees for many years. A local screenwriter became a regular at Christmas. Armand and Rosie were portrayed in the Hallmark television Christmas movie “The Christmas Card” as the owners of a Christmas tree farm.
Rosie’s smile and laughter were contagious and her loving spirit reached out to all those privileged to have known her.
Rosel is survived by Armand her husband of 72 years, Robert and Margaret (Micka) LaPalme, of Westhampton. Stephen LaPalme, of San Diego, CA, Annemarie LaPalme and John (Feryok) of Sitka AK, grandson Zephyr Feryok, of Seattle, WA, sister Dorothea D'Elia, Lee, MA and her many loving nieces and nephews. She loved them all and showed it. She will be dearly missed.
The family wishes to thank the staff and aides, nurses and administration of Day Brook Village for their compassionate care of Rosel. We also wish to thank Central Mass Hospice for all they have done to help make her final days as comfortable for her as possible. People inclined to honor her may make a donation to hilltownlandtrust.org/donate or spend a quiet moment reflecting somewhere special in the natural environment like the Mineral Hills Conservation Area.
A remembrence of Rosel will be held at Mitchell Funeral home 15 Park Street in Easthampton, MA on December 11 at 1:00 PM.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rosel (Buchholz) LaPalme, please visit our floral store.