Rose Varga

Rose Varga Longtime Ridgecrest resident and community advocate Rose Varga passed away peacefully March 18, 2013, at her daughter’s home in Cleveland. She was 99.

She was laid to rest in Cleveland at Calvary Cemetery, next to her husband, Frank Varga. In remembrance and celebration of her life, a memorial will be held Sunday, April 21, at 1 p.m. at the Historic USO Building, 230 W. Ridgecrest Blvd.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rose Varga Discretionary Fund, P.O. Box 2072, Ridge-crest, CA, 93556-2072, or to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life – Team Stampin’ For Ta-Ta’s.

Rose was born April 5, 1913, in Cleveland, Ohio, to parents William and Gussie Piltz. Rose was the eldest of five. Her family was of modest means. Having to quit school in the 10th grade, Rose helped raise her two brothers, Lou and Sanford, and two sisters, Jenny and Esther. She endured two world wars and the Great Depression, survived breast cancer twice and went through so many other trying times. Rather than letting such challenges in life bring her down or make her a bitter person, she was determined that they would make her a better person.

Her goal and purpose in life was to help those in need. She and her loving husband, Frank, moved to Ridgecrest in 1971, where she hit the ground running, making our community aware of what it needed to assist those in need. Heading up holiday baskets for our military families, being heavily involved with We Care, CLOTA, the American Cancer Society, Action Committee for Extended Care… through various means, organizations and time and effort from many volunteers, she was able to create the Rose Varga Discretionary Fund, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that provides interest-free loans for qualified individuals suffering medical crises and hardships, as well as sickroom equipment loans, and is funded through tax-deductible donations. Outside of an incredibly loving and supportive husband and family, there were, and are, many loving, supportive and generous people of this community who assisted her in making her visions for our community come true and who still carry the torch of the Rose Varga Discretionary Fund.

Rose was often referred to as “The First Lady of Ridgecrest,” “Mother Theresa of Ridgecrest” and “Rose of the Desert.” To her family, she was “Mom,” “Sis,” “Rosie,” “Granny Rose” and “Grams.”

In her later years, her daughter Sheila moved in to assist her. Upon Sheila’s unexpected death in July 2012, her granddaughter Leslie and her family, moved in to care for her. Just five months later, as she naturally declined, requiring further care, she was able to move to Cleveland to finish her final months with her loving daughter Joyce, granddaughter Lisa and grandson Mark.

Rose is survived by her daughters, Joyce Conley and Annette Malow; brother Sanford Raab; grandchildren Michael Byrne and wife, Delores, Kathy Cook, Leslie Barkman and husband John, David Malow and Joey Kammer, Laura Weinstein and husband Stan, Madeline Malow, Lisa Hauck, Rebecca Conley, Kelly La Rosa and Lori Selleck and husband Kenneth; great-grandchildren Ryan Byrne, Bryana Cook, Lindsay Cook, Timothy Meyers, Nickolas Meyers, Joshua Meyers, Starr Barragan, Brittany Barragan, Marc Malow, Mark Hauck, Michael Conley, Matthew Conley, Christina Dempsey, Jessica Dempsey, Angela La Rosa, Anthony La Rosa, Thomas Selleck and Bernardine Selleck and great-great-grandchildren Ariana and Ciera Jaylon.

Rose was preceded in death by her husband, Frank Varga, daughter Sheila Lloyd and sisters Jenny Van Chantfort and Esther Link. Her brother, Lou Piltz, passed away just two days after her death.

Submitted by the family of Rose Varga

Story First Published: 2013-04-10