The Times West Virginian


June 4, 2011

Rose Mary Brunetti Tennant

FAIRMONT — Rose Mary Brunetti Tennant, 79, of Fairview, passed away Tuesday (May 31, 2011) after a short illness.

Daughter of the late Catherine De Luca and Joseph P. Brunetti, born June 25, 1931, Rose Mary was known as “Wizzie” to her friends and family in the North View section of Clarksburg. She attended Victory High School, graduating in 1948 at the age of 16.

Rose Mary’s lifelong love of music was fostered as she trained in opera as a teenager, traveling weekly by bus to Pittsburgh for instruction. At Fairmont State College, where she majored in speech and drama, Rose Mary met her future husband, John D. Tennant Jr., fresh from his return from the Korean War.

The couple married in 1955 and settled on his family farm near Fairview in Marion County. Adapting to rural life, Rose Mary set her energy to canning, sewing and raising seven children. After her youngest was born in 1967, she went back to college and completed her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Rose Mary taught fifth and sixth grade at Grant Town Elementary, pursuing her master’s degree in early childhood education through summer and night classes.

Upon receiving her master’s degree, Rose Mary spent three years as professor of early childhood education at Glenville State College, setting up the first laboratory kindergarten to train student teachers. For her doctoral studies through the University of Pittsburgh and Berea College, Ky., Rose Mary specialized in Appalachian studies and the particular challenges and issues of educating children in this region.

Rose Mary was a substitute teacher in various Marion and Monongalia County schools. It was her delight to interact on many subjects with hundreds of students and staff over the years.

As grandchildren came along and John retired, Rose Mary pursued many varied interests. Blessed with a flair for the dramatic, she participated in the summer productions of the Town and Gown Players of Fairmont State College. An avid doll maker whose specialty was antique reproductions, Rose Mary loved doll shows and collector club meetings.

In recent years, Rose Mary traveled several times to her parents’ homeland in San Giovanni in Fiore, Italy, forming friendships there and finding long-lost cousins.

Because of her passion for Italian heritage she participated with great success in the Italian Trivia Contest of the W.Va. Italian Heritage Festival in Clarksburg. She was also proud to take part in the Festival of the Seven Fishes, in Fairmont, selling homemade pita piata and Italian cookies.

Rose Mary will be remembered for her vibrant personality, lively conversation and love of meeting new people.

She is predeceased by her brothers, Samuel Joseph Brunetti and Joseph Peter Brunetti II.

She is survived by husband John D. Tennant, Jr; her children: Chris Tennant, Stephen and Sharon Tennant of Fairview, Catherine and Tony Drown of San Marcos, Calif., Timothy and Kimberly Tennant of Fairview, Jonathan Tennant of Kingwood, David and Joni Tennant of Fairview, and Natalie Tennant and Erik Wells of Charleston; her brothers, Frank E. (who made his home with John and Rose Mary) and Martha Brunetti of Salem; Michael D. Brunetti of Clarksburg and John Anthony Brunetti of Nevada. Also surviving are 12 nieces and nephews, 15 grandchildren, numerous cousins, great nieces and nephews.

Friends may call at Ross Funeral Home, 801 Fairmont Ave., Fairmont, on Monday from 1-8 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday at 11 a.m. at St. James the Apostle Catholic Church 2107 Pride Ave. (North View), Clarksburg, with Father Alfred U. Obiudu as celebrant. A private interment service will be held at a later date.

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