Cover photo for Rosemary Neff's Obituary
1921 Rosemary 2023

Rosemary Neff

March 5, 1921 — May 30, 2023

Rosemary Neff passed away at 102 in Albuquerque, NM, on Tuesday, May 30, 2023. She had a life filled with love, family, challenges, and successes. When reminiscing about a most common phrase Rosemary is remembered for by her daughter, it's "dinner's ready." She was a loving mother with a passion for cooking and sharing life with family around a table of delicious food.

Rosemary Neff was born at home on May 5, 1921, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Back in the day, you didn't need to record a birth immediately, so her birthday was always a topic of question between the day Rosemary said she was born, and the date recorded by the state. Rosemary was the middle child of Alberto Alarid and Agnes Alarid, with three siblings, Rebecca, Al, and Pricilla. As Rosemary would say, life was simpler back then but tuff. Everyone helped out, and nothing was ever wasted. She graduated a year early from Saint Vincent's Academy at the same time as her sister Rebecca.

After graduation, she started working at Cutter Airfield. Her playful disposition and good looks made her the cat's pajamas to all the pilots who came through the airport. One day, the pilots thought it would be fun to light a small fire under her chair and put her on the "hot seat". Luckily it turned out to be more smoke than fire, and the airfield supervisor had the last laugh when he scolded the pilots for their dangerous stunt. When the war started, several pilots asked if Rosemary would be their pin-up girl; she had many a photo shoots on airplanes around the field as pilots went off to war. It was during this time she met her first husband, Russell Callan. After a short courting phase, the two left New Mexico for the small ranching community of Callan, Texas.

Rosemary became part of a new family in Texas, changing her name from Alarid to Callan. Catherine Callan, the mother of her husband and family matriarch, and her sisters (Aida, Blanche, Fannie, and Delia) took her under their wings and made her feel at home. It wasn't long before Rosemary had her first child John Russell Callan on August 16, 1943. His sister Judith Catherine Callan joined him shortly after on October 26, 1944. Life on the ranch in Texas was good. Filled with swimming in the stock tanks, large family dinners, baby firsts, and town celebrations. Life and her relationship with her husband, Russell, eventually changed. Soon Rosemary was packing up her children and returning to Albuquerque to start another journey in her life.

Back in Albuquerque, Rosemary went to work setting up her new house off Wyoming and Indian School (which back then was the edge of town and on dirt roads!). She lived in this home with her two children and second husband, Daniel Neff, for the rest of her life. She never missed dinner with the kids, and it is said most nights, the family had home-cooked food from scratch with a full fruit or cream pie which they cut into quarters, so everyone got a slice. After her children were out of high school started working as a secretary for APS, first in local schools and then at the main offices.

Her son John became a biology teacher at Sandia High School and a real estate manager/investor. In contrast, her daughter Judith became a flight attendant for Transworld Airlines, traveling worldwide. John married Connie Rossignol and gave Rosemary two grandchildren, Bart Russell Callan and Danelle Catherine Callan. From then on, her home was known as "grandma's." Her house was always well stocked with ice cream, sprinkles, candy, gum, and soda. She held birthday parties, Thanksgiving dinner, and Christmas brunch, including her well-known New Year's Day Pisole party. She made many Christmas cookies as presents for her friends and family. The December baking included 12-inch-tall hand-cut gingerbread man with peppermint icing and red-hot candies for decoration.

Rosemary and Dan were wonderful hosts, confidants, grandparents, parents, and friends. They had many an adventure together on the boat at Elephant Butte Lake and survived Dan's driving in the latest car he brought home. In 1999, Rosemary became a widow after Dan died from a cardiac condition. Change again reared its head, but Rosemary took it in stride, choosing to focus on family while pushing through the loss of her life partner. In her long life, many celebrations were yet to come, including graduations, weddings, births, promotions, and passing down her holiday gingerbread tradition. Rosemary's life included many ups and downs, but what is remembered by her family is her generosity, kind words, keen fashion sense, use of thank you notes, birthday and holiday cards, cooking skills, and perseverance. She was the rock that held the family together like most mothers are.

She lived a life in length and experience that one can only hope for, and as we say goodbye to a family member who was one of the 89,739 people in the U.S. that made it to the age of 100+, remember...

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."
-Dr Suess

She is survived by her daughter, Judith Callan; daughter-in-law, Connie Callan; grandchildren, Bart Callan and Danelle Callan; and nieces and nephews, Rob Baca, Joseph Alarid, Karen Alarid, Francesca Brown, and Kimberly Morris.

A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, July 28, 2023, 11:00 a.m., at FRENCH-Wyoming.

Rosemary lived through many events in her 102 years on this planet, including the ones below, to name a few.
• Telephones have become common in houses
• The Great Depression
• World War I
• World War II
• TV invented
• The collapse of the Soviet Union
• The Civil Rights Act
• The Vietnam War
• Kennedy Assassination
• First woman appointed to Supreme Court
• Moon landing
• Fall of Berlin Wall
• Creation of the personal computer
• Creation of the Internet
• Cell phones
• September 11, 2001
• 19 Presidents

To send flowers to the family in memory of Rosemary Neff, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Friday, July 28, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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Friday, July 28, 2023

Starts at 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

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