July 20, 2021
Melendy Spirit Award Recipient 2021
Rosemary Beach is a treasured citizen of Cedar Falls. Throughout her long residence in Cedar Falls, she has seized opportunities to become involved in countless ways and in many organizations. Rosemary says it has all been fun, but her fun has made a lasting impact on Cedar Falls.
Rosemary, with Judith Cutler and Tom Klemuk, founded the Sturgis Falls Celebration, an event that continues to be a summer highlight for local families and class reunions. The Celebration began as the official United States Bicentennial Celebration on behalf of the City of Cedar Falls in 1976 and continues as a celebration of community to this day, bringing thousands of visitors “home” to Cedar Falls each year for family and class reunions, to enjoy the bands, the carnival, the family activities, and more.
In her nomination, Judith Cutler said, “Rosemary has always been willing to lend a hand to make the City of Cedar Falls welcoming to our residents, visitors and tourists. I wish I could attempt to name all the committees and groups that have benefited from her attention.” Cutler went on to note, among other contributions, Rosemary’s service to the Cedar Falls Community Theatre, Hartman Reserve Nature Center, the Cedar Valley Arboretum, Green Scene, Altrusa Club, Hearst Center for the Arts, and the Cedar Valley Trails Festival, noting her love of bicycling and support of the Cedar Trails Partnership, and her service to the Cedar Falls Tourism and Visitors Bureau Marketing Committee to ensure safe recreational biking in Cedar Falls.
Cedar Falls Community Foundation emerita Board member Judith Harrington also highlighted Rosemary’s willingness to get involved. Harrington said, “Just as Peter Melendy was a mover and shaker of Cedar Falls in its earliest days, so has Rosemary been for the many decades she has resided in Cedar Falls. If there is an issue or a project, or even just a gleam in someone’s eye, Rosemary is right there to lead or lend support. Her extraordinary contributions to our city’s enrichment were most recently recognized by the Waterloo Courier, as one of its 8 Over 80 award recipients in 2015.”
Rosemary has been recognized in many ways, at both the local and state level. She has received the Cedar Falls Representative Citizen Award, Mayors Volunteer Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Sturgis Falls Cornerstone Award, the Western Home Community Volunteer of the Year award and the Governor’s Volunteer Award, being inducted into the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame. In 2014 Rosemary was honored by Volunteer Iowa for giving more than 750 hours to the Blue Zones Project, promoting health and wellness. Rosemary was instrumental in Cedar Falls being named a Blue Zones Community.
Following a move to the Western Home Communities, Rosemary served as President of the Friends of the Western Home Communities and continues to volunteer her time delivering journals and calendars to residents, walking “a couple of miles” in the process. Carolyn Martin, Western Home Communities said, “Rosemary embodies the spirit of Peter Melendy by continuing to tell the story of Cedar Falls, making contributions of time and wisdom to many organizations, and providing unwavering support for others doing the same.”
Rosemary served as the first Executive Director of the Cedar Falls Historical Society from 1980-1993, bringing a renewed focus to local history and the specialness of Cedar Falls. As Director, Rosemary gave tours to schoolchildren, wrote columns for the newspapers, gave presentations to community groups, and helped to organize and catalog the museum’s collection. Julie Huffman-klinkowitz, Collections Manager, Cedar Falls Historical Society, said, “Rosemary embodies the sense of community pride, philanthropy, and volunteerism pioneered by Peter Melendy. The dedication, enthusiasm, and energy that Rosemary brings to all the causes she supports spur others in our community to become more involved. She has been and continues to be an ardent advocate for Cedar Falls, its citizens, and its history.”
Appointed to the first Cedar Falls Historic Preservation Commission, with Dr. Thomas Connors, David Williams, Daryl Andersen and Cynthia Sweet, Rosemary enthusiastically engaged in documenting local architecture. Cynthia Sweet, Chair of the first Cedar Falls Historic Preservation Commission, said, “Rosemary and Daryl worked tirelessly to photograph, research, and document the homes, businesses and neighborhoods in Cedar Falls. The Commission then developed power point presentations, which were shared with the community in public presentations at the Community Center. These sparked interesting and educational conversations, and as Rosemary would say, were great fun!”
Rosemary’s passion for Cedar Falls continues to bubble over, most recently helping coalesce support for the first Cedar Falls Authors Festival. Hundreds of residents can attest that volunteering on projects with Rosemary is indeed fun. She embodies the spirit of Peter Melendy in civic pride and willingness to lend a hand to make the community a better place and does it with a smile and a twinkle in her eye.