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Rosemarie Stack & Rita Tanos

Years may go by. . . we lose touch with cherished friends we think we’ll see again soon, and in the blink of eye, they are gone.  Into the ethereal realms of the heavens and God space…the eternal oneness.

This is my dear friend Rosemarie Stack whom I shared a beautiful friendship with for more than 25 years.  We were introduced during my years as head of W Magazine for the Western U.S. and became instant friends.  Her husband, Bob Stack was still with her at that time when they lived in a lovely home in Bel Air.  We co-hosted many parties together with friends, and friends of friends when Bob was still in good health and full of life.

Then came the terrible news that Bob had cancer and was undergoing radiation treatment.  It was a difficult time for the Stacks, especially Bob.  He was always so energetic, full of life and laughter and always telling jokes.  He simply loved life so much.  Within a heartbeat his life changed, and so did Rosemarie’s.  They shared a beautiful marriage, and a life long friendship and romance until the end in 2003, when Bob passed through the veils.

Rosemarie knew instantly that she could not stay in the home they shared together for so many years. Too many memories of the Love of her Life. So she decided to sell it and buy a condo on the Wilshire Corridor that once belonged to Lucy Doheny Battson, widow of the oil heir Edward “Ned” Doheny Jr.  Yes, those Doheny’s. 

Soon after a complete renovation of this stunning 5,000 square foot residence with 2,000 square feet of limestone patio and gardens, designed by David Jones, that included serious huge trees, flowers and waterfalls, Rosemarie decided to buy a gorgeous Villa in Cuernavaca, Mexico.  She asked me to come and join her to decorate her master bedroom, and 8 guest rooms.  So I said yes.

But before taking on that opportunity and challenge of a huge Villa in Cuernavaca, Rosemarie choose to have several parties at her new Wilshire address that included extraordinary people. Nancy Reagan, and Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the Moon were among them.  And so many others from the film industry that Bob and Rosemarie shared a friendship with.  It was quite a series of welcoming parties into Rosemarie’s new abode.  

Upon every visit, I was asked in advance to stay overnight in her guest room/den. She always teased me with the flirtation that Steven Spielberg has slept in her den (and he did) and has a plaque on the wall, above the bed that proclaims it.  So I stayed, and spent several overnights while looking up at photographs of the Stacks’ life in Hollywood. There are images of Clark Gable and Carol Lombard, and one of Robert Stack playing polo with Spencer Tracy, and with President and Nancy Reagan, and a Life magazine cover of Rosemarie.

After four years of back and forth trips to Mexico, Rosemarie finally moved into her Villa in Cuernavaca.  It was stunning and peaceful and beautiful.  And we were both delighted with her Master Bedroom and the 8 guest rooms I helped to design.  

Rosemarie pursued her painting (which she was quite good at) and loved full retirement, away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.  When I last saw Rosemarie, she had recently sold her Doheny Condo on Wilshire and already moved to Cuernavaca full time.  There was a knowing between us that this day would be the last time we would ever see each other.  And so it is and was.  Surrounded by glass tower windows in the Wilshire corridor of L.A., there we stood saying our final goodbyes.

Years may go by. . . so quickly, and in the blink of an eye your cherished friends may be gone.  Life is precious, and every one we share it with is even more precious. Treasure every moment together, and recognize the gift that they are in your life.  Today I am left with the wonderful memories and the laughter we shared together for so many years.