News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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December 29, 2013

Rose Calvetti Parsley

UNIVERSAL — Rose Calvetti Parsley, 87, of Universal, passed away Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, at Clinton Gardens in Clinton. She was born Aug. 4, 1926, in Chicago, to Luigi Calvetti and Domenica Tasso Calvetti. Her parents moved to Universal when she was a child. She attended the Universal School and said she didn’t want to go to school because she spoke only Italian. Her first-grade teacher found someone to teach her to speak English. She graduated from Clinton High School in 1944. She worked for the Daily Clintonian for many years and retired from the Terre Haute Tribune-Star in 1988; she had been a Linotype operator. She was a lifelong member of the former St. Joseph Church in Universal and St. Joseph Altar Society. She was a member of Sacred Heart Church in Clinton.  

Rose was proud of her Italian heritage and was delighted when she met someone with whom she could converse in Italian. She was a proud supporter of the Little Italy Festival.

While in high school she was selected to attend Girls State, which sparked an interest in government that kept her involved her entire life. A highlight of her life was an invitation to Washington to attend a dinner for an Indiana Senator. Rose was an advocate for the Town of Universal having served on the Town Board, many years as president. In the ’60s she obtained a federal grant to establish and build the Universal Water Company, then was able to bring gas service and cable television to the town. Rose was affectionately known as “The Mayor of Universal.”

For years she arranged funeral dinners and collected for people in need. She was always there if someone needed a friend. She lived her life with the motto that the people of Universal were a family and they cared about one another.  

Rose was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, James Parsley (Aug. 2, 1999); and brothers, Johnnie and James Viara.  

Survivors include one son, James Louis Johnson and his wife Margaret of Clinton; two daughters, Linda Brentlinger and her husband Martin and Jennie Smith and her husband George, all of Clinton; 12 grandchildren, Julia Johnson, Toren Brentlinger, Daniel Overbey, Carly Brentlinger, Bryan Overbey, Phillip Anderson, Tony Anderson, Robbie Anderson, David Anderson, Matthew Smith, Luke Smith, Samantha Smith and Amy Anderson; 17 great-grandchildren; and one niece, Rosalie McDonald of Texas.   

Prayer services will be conducted at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, at Giovanini Funeral Home, 408 Vine St., Clinton, with mass of Christian burial to follow at Sacred Heart Church, in Clinton, at 11 a.m., the Rev. Father Michael Fritch officiating and burial will be in Walnut Grove Cemetery. Friends may call at the funeral home from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. Memorial contributions may be made to Clinton Gardens, and envelopes will be provided at the funeral home. Online condolences can be left at:


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