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Rosemore's legacy: A life of service and support of others



John Pilati

Franklin Free Press


When Marion Rosemore passed away May 31st, she was survived by five children, including Russellville optometrist Martha Morrow, 13 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

But Rosemore’s legacy lives on well beyond the large family she loved so much. Until her final day, the 97-year-old Rosemore’s life was centered around philanthropy, including generous support of the Southern College of Optometry. 

Although she wasn’t an optometrist, Rosemore’s husband of 62 years, Dr. Fredric M. Rosemore, had a long and distinguished career in optometry. Additionally, her brother, brother-in-law, daughter and seven grandchildren all earned their Doctor of Optometry degrees. Rosemore served as her husband’s business partner throughout his years practicing optometry in Fayette, Al. And as their practice grew, so did the Rosemore’s calling to support their community, all as they instilled a work ethic and the importance of education in their children.

Martha Morrow, who continues to practice part-time at Professional Eye Care in Russellville, watched as her parents made decisions together, truly defining their marriage, as well as their business, as a partnership.

For decades, the Rosemore Family Foundation has supported not only the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, but it promoted many other organizations with scholarships, research funding and support for capital projects.

In 2017, Marion received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Southern College of Optometry as a result of her lifetime dedication to advancing optometric medicine.

Later that same year, Rosemore was honored with a joint resolution by the Alabama House of Representatives for her lifetime of support for optometric education.

It was 1946 when Fredric Rosemore, just out of World War II where he served in the Army Air Corps, enrolled as a student at Southern College of Optometry, a remarkable feat considering he was held for two years as a prisoner of war by the Nazis after his plane was shot down over Hungary.

Throughout the couple’s lifetime, they supported more than 25 professional organizations helping families in the communities where they lived.

Marion’s business acumen rivaled her philanthropic spirit. She and her husband, from their kitchen table without legal or professional assistance, founded Pro-Med Capital, a company that would later grow to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Morrow's brother Andy, a retired physician living in Texas, said his mother was a real-life example of a woman whose life was marked by great accomplishments even though she came from a very humble upbringing.

It has often been said that 'behind every great man is a great woman.' It was rarely more true than in the case of my mother,” Rosemore said. “While she never attended college due to lack of family resources, she had incredible abilities that she sought to instill in her children—how to work effectively and recognize people with the commitment and discipline to be successful, and providing funding to start or grow a business.

She often explained that employees who have a can-do attitude and are dedicated to their customers are your greatest assets as a business. They can make or break a business. She was a modest person from a poor, humble background who had a big impact on countless people in her beloved state of Alabama as well as business owners throughout the United States,” Rosemore added.

Three days after her mother's passing, Morrow reflected on the character of her parents and how blessed she and her siblings were to be loved by and to have learned so much from them.

Kids learn by example and their sense of community and giving to others was exemplified every day,” Morrow said. “I thank God for giving us the most wonderful parents in the world.”

For Johnny Mack Morrow, he was never short of amazed by the strength and conviction of his mother-in-law. If it needed to be done, or should be done, Rosemore found a way to do it, something that defined the men and women who grew up during the Great Depression and served and/or labored through World War II.

She was definitely an integral part of the ‘Greatest Generation.’ Maybe we place too much emphasis on the men and not enough on the accomplishments of women of that generation,” Morrow said. 

When you think back to World War II, the wives and mothers of the men who defeated the Nazis were the ones who kept it all together while the men waged a war like the world had never seen before.”




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