DR. D. ROSEMARY CASSANO
BA, MSW, PhD, RSW
March 31, 1942 – December 4, 2020
It is with profound sadness that we, Rosemary’s family and friends, announce her passing after a long period of hospitalization. Predeceased by her parents, Elizabeth (Bessie) and Francesco (Cicio), and her brother, Frank. Survived by her sister- in- law, Marilyn Cassano; nephews, Stephen and David; great-nephews, Patrick and Oliver. Deeply missed by her lifelong friends from her childhood, Doreen Powell and Elaine Iannuzziello.
In her early working years, Rosemary was employed as a social worker both at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children and Dellcrest Children’s Centre, Toronto. In 1979, while pursuing her PhD in Social Work through the University of Toronto, she joined the faculty at the University of Windsor as an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work. She completed her PhD in 1985 and in 1989 she was promoted to Associate professor, a position she held until her retirement in 2008. In 2003, in recognition of her outstanding teaching to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Rosemary received the ‘Teaching Award – University of Windsor’ and in 2005, she received a ‘University of Windsor Service Award’. During her tenure at the University, Rosemary also taught graduate doctoral students in the Department of Psychology, authored a number of books and articles related to clinical social work, and served on university committees. She particularly enjoyed her position as the ‘Chair of the Master of Social Work Program’ and she was proud to have been the Social Work ‘lead’, working jointly with Dr. Anne Forrest in Women’s Studies to develop a program that combined Social Work and Women’s Studies. Of their collaboration, Dr. Forrest recently wrote, “She was a wonderful colleague and early champion of women’s issues at the University. I also had the privilege of working with her to create the Bachelor of Social Work in Social Work and Women’s Studies degree program in the early 2000’s. Rosemary’s knowledge of the social work profession, her belief in the value of feminist knowledge and practice, and her influence in the school of social work were critical to the success of that initiative…the combined program was the first such undergraduate program in Canada and remains so, today, after all of these years.” Along with her academic career, Rosemary maintained a private clinical practice in Windsor. She served on several Windsor community boards including Hiatus House. She was a member of Unity Spiritual Center and served as President of the Board for two terms.
Small in stature, gregarious and brilliant, Rosemary lived her life to the fullest. Growing up in Toronto, she was very proud of her Italian heritage, cherishing her family and their traditions especially those that brought her many close relatives together for multi-course meals. Her first trip to Europe in 1967 opened her eyes to the joy of travel and subsequently, over the years, she travelled to many places, including Russia, India and China. Her favorite however, was a trip to Bali with noted author and scholar, Jean Houston. Rosemary was wise and pragmatic, an approach that she applied to her clinical practice and to friends and family who sought her advice to help guide them through life’s challenges. She told stories with a flair, she adored her Siamese kitties, loved art, classical music, the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, theatre and opera. Her home was filled with books and treasures from her many travels and guests always enjoyed the wonderful aromas emanating from her kitchen. She was a deeply spiritual woman who gave generously to many organizations in support of their work with people in need and she faithfully supported organizations in the care of animals.
As her family members were at a distance, Rosemary made many close friends in Windsor-Es who supported her with love and loyalty during her happy, healthy days, and, most recently during her illness. In speaking of her passing, her close friend and colleague, Dr. Judith Dunlop, shared, “Rosemary’s legacy goes on in the hundreds of social workers she has taught and mentored who revere her. Her legacy lives on in the deep and enduring friendships she has created. We have all lost a special woman too soon. The only consolation is that her suffering is over and she is re-united with her beloved parents and brother.”
Cremation has been completed. A “Celebration of Life” service will take place at Unity Spiritual Centre in the spring.
At Rosemary’s request, memorial donations may be given in support of the “Dr. Rosemary Cassano Scholarship in Social Work and Women’s Studies” at the University of Windsor. Online support can be made using: my.uwindsor.ca/web/uw/donations# [Click on ‘in memory of’; Designation: click on ‘other’ and indicate: Scholarship-Social Work & Women’s Studies] OR by mail: Attn: Gemma Grey-Hall, Director of Advancement, University of Windsor, 401 Sunset Ave., Windsor, ON N9B 3P4.
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Dr Domenica Rosemary Cassano 2020..
Décès pour la Ville:Windsor, Province: Ontario