Dance, People

A Heart as Big as Her Smile

Rosemarie and Mairead

Rosemarie Timoney and daughter Mairead.

A native of Clady, County Derry, Rosemarie Timoney began Irish dancing the age of four and won the South Derry Championship at the age of 17. In 1961, she came to the United States and five years later, she founded the Timoney School of Irish Dance in Glenside in 1966 as a way to share her love of dance—its fun, camaraderie, and its place in the history of the Irish culture.

Her classes are not just about teaching dancing, but about giving the children the confidence to always be and do their best. Her students don’t compete, but they do support the community. Her dancers have performed at nursing homes, hospitals, for handicapped children and school assemblies, as well as festivals all over.

The 1997 Grand Marshal of the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade who also does color commentary during its broadcast on CBS3, Rosemarie is wife, mother of five, grandmother of nine, and has been described as “a virtual library of all things Irish in the Delaware Valley.”

She’s also tough—that must come from her years of playing camogie, the ladies’ version of the Irish game hurling, once described as a cross between hockey, lacrosse, and assault with a deadly weapon. She has traded that for much tamer bowling—she now plays with the St. Luke’s Mother’s League.

Rosemarie Timoney also has a heart as big as her smile. As someone who knows her once said, “It’s useless to try to give Rosemarie anything. She just gives it to someone else she thinks needs it more than she does.” She collects donations of clothes and other items for her thrift shop which benefits her hometown church in Ireland.

And though it will make her blush to hear it, she is beloved. In fact, when you talk to her her family, her dancers, or even the children she crosses to safety in her crossing guard job at Copper Beech Elementary School, the one phrase that comes up again and again is, “we just love her.”

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