Rosalie Joan Brown-Essing

December 27, 1927 - June 16, 2009 

Rosalie Joan Brown-Essing

December 27, 1927 - June 16, 2009 

Obituary for Rosalie Joan Brown-Essing

Rosalie Joan Brown-Essing, age 81, died at her home in Zeeland on Tuesday, June 16, 2009.

She was born December 27, 1927 in Moddersville, Michigan, the second of four children and the only daughter born to William and Alta (Dyer) Spitsbergen. She earned a teaching certificate from Michigan State Normal College and married David Brown, a World War II veteran, in Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1948. They had one son, Kenneth, and resided in Willow Run and Ypsilanti. She divorced in 1966.

Mrs. Brown-Essing earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Eastern Michigan University. Rosalie taught at a Christian elementary school and later was employed by Eastern Michigan University library.

She married Harold (Judd) Essing, widower of Betty (Ritsema) in the 1980s. They moved to his Zeeland home when she retired. She was preceded in death by both her first and second husbands.

Surviving are her elder brother Bill of Wyoming, MI and her younger brothers Phillip of Texas and Ronald of Florida; her son Kenneth, his wife Larraine and her grandchildren Michael Brown, his wife Kelly and daughter Morgan; Erin and her husband Grant Lee, children Katie, Alison, and Benjamin; and Andrew, a student at Michigan State University.

Mrs. Brown-Essing is also survived by many nieces and nephews in an extended family living from coast to coast.

During her life time Mrs. Brown-Essing published numerous articles and monographs about Michigan families and community histories. She was a member of the First Christian Reformed Church of Zeeland and generously supported many of the churches endeavors.

A funeral service will be 1:30 PM, Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at Lakeshore Memorial Services 11939 James Street in Holland. Reverend Bernard Mulder will be officiating.
Visitation will be from 7-9 PM, Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at Lakeshore Memorial Services.

In her later years her happiest hours were spent in her garden. She took great pleasure in every aspect of gardening, growing fruit, vegetables, and flowers, reminiscent of her formative years on her parent's farm in Moddersville.

Mrs. Brown-Essing will be interred at the Zeeland Cemetery beside her husband Harold Essing and her great grandparents, Jan Hendrick Spitsbergen and Hendrikien (Essing) Spitsbergen who were among the original Dutch settler's of Zeeland in 1847. Memorial contributions may be given to First Christian Reformed Church in Zeeland.
An on-line registry book is available at

To send flowers to the family of Rosalie Joan Brown-Essing, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.

  • Brought to you by

  • 11939 James Street
    Holland, MI
  • 616-395-3630

Help & Healing Resources

In the event that there is an error in the information presented, please contact the funeral home by clicking here.