ROZANNE ‘POSY’ ROBERTSON
Mar. 20, 1931 – July 1, 2018
Springfield lost one of its most gentle and compassionate souls on July 1, 2018, when Rozanne ‘Posy’ Robertson passed away. Born in 1931, Posy was a child of the Great Depression, with an inquisitive mind and engaging personality. She knew no strangers and was genuinely interested in everyone she met. She was also one of life’s great conversationalists, interested in everyone and everything.
Posy’s defining character trait, however, was this: If she saw a problem, whatever that problem might be, she felt duty-bound to fix it. A story from Posy’s early days as a lifeguard best illustrates that point. Her father, a prominent Springfield attorney, once explained the legal principle of “separate but equal” accommodations to her. That did not sit well with Posy. In 1951, she volunteered to teach swimming lessons to African-American children at Springfield’s black beach, Bridgeview Beach. Afterward, she came home and challenged her father head on. It might be a separate beach, she passionately argued, but it was definitely not equal. Two years later, the policy was changed, due in part, she believes, to her father’s change of heart.
Given her mindset, it should be no surprise that Posy chose a career in management at a time when women worked with a distinct disadvantage in the hard-knuckle world of business and industry. As in everything, however, she persevered and eventually became vice president for human resources at the Curtis Mathes Corporation. Her experiences seasoned her, but never discouraged her. Her circle of friends was very large, due in part because she was, like many of her generation, a joiner. She was a member of King’s Daughters Home, volunteered at the Red Cross, the Dana- Thomas House, the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois, at her church, the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and, for the last 10 years of her life, at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.
Even in her 80s Posy had a tireless energy that often fatigued us mere mortals. She was a wonderful friend with an outsized heart to go along with her outsized personality.
Submitted by Mark DePue, Director of Oral History, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, and Rev. Martin Woulfe, Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation