Delivered at the Baltimore County Lincoln Day Dinner by Ellen Sauerbrey I am here tonight with a message of sorrow and joy. Sorrow at the loss of a great friend and Republican. Joy as we celebrate her life.
It was just one year ago that Rose Dykes was awarded the Marjorie Neuman Award for her service to the B.C. Republican Party. Rose was justifiably proud of her recognition and she carried it around for months to show her many friends. It is quite hard to believe just one year later, that this friend to so many will be buried tomorrow. Shortly after her 80th birthday celebration, Rose began to have difficulty breathing. That was the beginning of a long battle with congestive heart failure - a battle that she fought with typical determination and good spirits. It was one of the few she ever lost.
Some people come into your life and leave an indelible footprint on your heart. Rose was one of those people.
Most of you knew Rose because of her Republican activism. I want to talk about Rose the person. I first met Rose Dykes in 1979 in my first year in the legislature. She asked me to help her to get a state resolution passed declaring "Scleroderma Awareness Week" to bring public recognition to the horrific disease that was devastating her husband, Woody.
That was just the first of many projects that Rose initiated and that we worked on together in the North County. There was the battle to stop the state from dumping sewage sludge on Middletown Road, traffic issues that endangered students at Hereford High School, landfill battles, property tax assessment issues, and most important to Rose, her crusade to bring a public library to the Hereford Community. The dedication of that library was one of her proudest moments. In 1994 the Northern Baltimore County Republican and Civic Association recognized her as their Citizen of the Year.
After Woody's death, she worked with determination to have a stream on her farm named in state land records for her husband. It is now officially called Dykes Creek.
Rose was a dedicated member of the DAR and would give me no peace until I got my own paperwork completed. She loved to bake, and baked hundreds of cakes for church events, for Republican Club meetings, and for her lucky friends. Many times Rose's little white car covered with dozens of GOP bumper stickers pulled in to my driveway to drop off a cake. And she made frequent trips to OakCrest to visit my Mother and other friends there - always cake in hand. Recently as I have been doing a lot of traveling, Rose made it a point to call my Mother daily to check on her while I was away.
Rose was totally dedicated to the Republican Party. In each of my campaigns, she was a constant fixture in my campaign office, making the long drive daily from her home in Northern Baltimore County . It was a rare event that she did not volunteer to help with.
When the torch passed to Bob, she worked tirelessly for his Gubernatorial campaign too. She rounded up hundreds of cakes for his North County fund raiser and baked over twenty cakes herself. Even when she was in a wheelchair and dragging an oxygen tank, nothing would keep Rose down. I recall vividly the Republican Club meeting when she wheeled up the aisle in her chair.
Few knew it, but Rose had more than her share of pain, disappointments and family tragedies. Within a four year period Rose buried her daughter Carol, her husband Woody and her grandson Eddie. Few knew her pain, because she erased her own problems by helping others and with her indomitable spirit, she never stopped smiling.
Rose was one of a kind, always doing for others, asking for nothing in return. If she believed in you, she was your friend for life. Her courage in adversity was never dimmed. It is said one doesn't grow old living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Rose Dykes never grew old!
We are all the richer because of her friendship.