Black, Rosemarie 79, aka "The Bronze Temptress" aka "Racetrack Rosie" passed away suddenly after a brief illness early Thursday morning, June 6th, 2013. She is survived by her husband, Cornelious Black (of 45 years), 3 daughters, 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren. Rosemarie also has many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, friends and admirers who will sorely miss her. Rosemarie was an exotic dancer for over 42 years. It's speculated that she danced from 19531997. Rosemarie was very well known as a star in the black circuit (performing spot dates only later into her career). When asked, "when she would stop performing," her answer was confidently, "I'll stop dancing when they stop paying me!" In her career, she's worked on the same stage with celebrities such as B.B. King, the Jackson Five, Nipsey Russell and Billie Holiday. Michael Jackson and Milton Berle both have mentioned her in respective books that they've written. She's had walk-by cameos in Chicago filmed box office hits like "Soul Food" and "Light It Up". Rosemarie really loved sewing.She was well known for her eccentric style of dress, matching from head to toe in outfits that she custom made. In addition to her other monikers, Rosemarie was known on the Southside of Chicago as "The Leather Lady" or "The Lady with the big Hats". Her daily attire usually inspired looks, stares, questions, laughs and adoration from onlookers everywhere she went. It was all good press. Presentation and self image was everything to her. She was known for her cowgirl attire, including fringe, cowgirl boots, and even a holster. Among her other hobbies were her love for horses. She was a regular at the Black Rodeo and Hawthorne/Sportsman Park Racetracks. You could find her in the winner's circle taking pictures with the winning horses and their jockeys. On August 17th, 1991, Sportsman Park named the evening races, "Racetrack Rosie's Night" in her honor. Rosemarie was typically a cheerful person and considered herself a "motivator" of sorts. Usually you would find her encouraging someone to "Be Grateful". Often she would ask, "What's the greatest thing in life?" To which she would answer, "Having Peace of mind!" She welcomed and engaged all bystanders in conversation. Rosemarie loved children, she was mostly known for giving out candy or gum and socializing at White Castles Restaurant on 79th Street & Stony Island Ave, in Chicago, IL. Rosemarie was strongly against any drugs or alcohol. She considered herself to be "high on life" alone. Sadly, her health began to rapidly decline three years ago. Although she put up a good fight, she ultimately succumbed to her illness on June 6th 2013. Rosemarie's Homegoing Celebration will be held at Leak & Sons Funeral Home, Sunday, June 16, 2013 (Father's Day) at 4:00pm (wake); 5:00pm (funeral) located at 7838 So. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago, IL. Visitation/Viewing starts Saturday 7pm 10pm and Sunday before the funeral. A private repast will follow for family and close friends.
Published in Chicago Sun-Times on June 13, 2013