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Rosemary J. Machacek

March 2, 1947 - March 12, 2019

Rosemary J. Machacek of Lincoln passed away on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Rosemary was born and raised in Crete, graduated from Crete High School, and was a proud alum of Doane College. She graduated magna cum laude in English, Class of 1969 and taught at Tri County High School in Dewitt for several years. Rosemary loved teaching and working with young people. Upon moving to Lincoln, she began her 18-year career as public information director at the Nebraska State Department of Education. She continued her career from 1992-2008 at Southeast Community College serving first as vice-president of Public Information and Marketing, and later as director of Development and Alumni Relations.

Rosemary was one of Lincoln's early trailblazers and leading activists for women's equality, civil rights and gender equity in the 1970s and early 1980s. She marched for civil rights in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 with a busload of fellow students from Doane College. That experience served as a catalyst for her lifetime commitment to activism and advocacy. She contributed untold hours of volunteer work and leadership to women's organizations, civil rights groups, church and others.

She was active on the Board of Women's Ministries at First-Plymouth Congregational Church, the Nebraska Coalition for Women and the Nebraska Civil Liberties Union. She presented the Title IX Plan, prepared by the Lincoln-Lancaster Commission on the Status of Women, to the Lincoln Board of Education in 1978. Rosemary was an original member of the Lincoln-Lancaster Commission on the Status of Women, and was elected chair in 1980. In 1982 she was honored with the Alice Paul Award for her lifelong dedication to advancing women's rights, and was a recipient of the YWCA Tribute to Women Award.

In 1982, she chaired the Minority Rights Task Force for Lincoln Public Schools and spearheaded “Abendmusik” for the Women's Art Festival. Rosemary was elected chair of the Human Rights Commission for the City of Lincoln in 1984. Rosemary was one of 12 women featured in the 2014 “Miles to Go” documentary by the Women's Foundation of Lincoln, highlighting individuals who were active in fighting for gender equality in Lincoln during the 1970s and early 1980s.

Rosemary was passionate about music and learned to play the piano and organ at an early age. She played at many weddings, funerals and other occasions for friends, neighbors and community members. She loved the music program at her church, First-Plymouth Congregational in Lincoln, and was an avid fundraising volunteer for the music ministry. She was dedicated to collecting and contributing funds to help feed children in the U.S. and abroad, especially the Food Bank of Lincoln's Backpack Program.

Rosemary was preceded in death by her mother and father, John and Geneva Machacek, brother Fredrich Ahlschwede, nieces Kimberly (Dughman) Isaacs and Jan and Kelly Ahlschwede. She is survived by many dear friends, neighbors and family including her sister, Marylu Dughman and brother-in-law Wyman Dughman of Lincoln; nephews Tim Dughman of Houston, Texas, and David Ahlschwede of Lincoln; nieces Pam (Mark) Overman of Lincoln, Connie Ahlshwede of Lincoln and Lynn Crosley of Holbrook; grand-nephews Joshua and Jacob Dughman of Tampa, Florida; and grand-nieces Courtney Overman of Lincoln, and Carla, Erica and Nicki Ahlschwede of Lincoln.

Celebration of Rosemary's life will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19, at Roper and Sons Funeral Chapel, 4300 O Street, with Rev. Dr. Jim Keck officiating. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, March 18, and one hour prior to service time. Burial will be at 2 p.m. at Riverside Cemetery in Crete. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Food Bank of Lincoln, 4840 Doris Bair Circle, Ste. A, Lincoln, NE 68504; First-Plymouth Congregational Music Program, 2000 D St., Lincoln, NE 68502; Women's Foundation of Lincoln and Lancaster County, 801 South 49th St., Lincoln, NE 68510 or the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104.

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