ROSTEN-MCDARRAH, Stacy (nee Rostenkowski)

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Stacy Rosten-McDarrah (nee Rostenkowski)

Born: 1960

at: Chicago

Died: 24-Dec-2007

aged: 47

at: Rush University Medical Center, Chicago.

Youngest daughter of Congressman Dan Rostenkowski.


26-Dec-2007 - OBITUARY - Chicago Tribune

Rostenkowski's youngest daughter

Former Delta Airlines flight attendant 'loved flying, but she loved being a mom more'

By Bonnie Miller Rubin

Stacy Rosten-McDarrah, a former flight attendant and daughter of longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, never gave up in her lengthy battle with kidney disease and bladder cancer, making holiday plans until the end.

Mrs. Rosten-McDarrah, 47, died Monday, Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, in Rush University Medical Center, said her husband, Robert W. McDarrah.

"I think she knew this was going to be her last Christmas," McDarrah said. "Even three weeks ago, she was decorating, putting on breakfast with Santa at St. Mary of the Woods Catholic School," where the couple's 8-year-old son, Robert Daniel, is a student.

"It really epitomized the way she lived," said McDarrah, deputy commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The couple met in 1990 at her parent's home on Lake Benedict near Genoa City, Wis. They married in November 1991.

The youngest of four daughters, Mrs. Rosten-McDarrah attended St. Stanislaus Kostka Elementary School and graduated from Good Counsel High School in 1978. "Stacy was the only one born after I became a congressman," said Rostenkowski, who represented the 5th and 8th Districts from 1959 to 1995. "All the girls wanted to be Midwesterners. They could have gone to Eastern schools, but they preferred to stay in Chicago."

At age 19, Mrs. Rosten-McDarrah joined Delta Airlines as a flight attendant, remaining with the airlines until 2002, when she chose to stay home full-time with her son.

"Stacy loved flying, but she loved being a mom more," her husband said.

Kidney problems first surfaced when she was 21. Ironically, the congressman helped pass the first federal appropriations that covered kidney dialysis in the late 1960s, long before his daughter was diagnosed, he said.

"I never envisioned this happening in my own family," he said.

The first two kidney transplants came in quick succession in the mid-1980s, followed by a third in 1988. The third kidney lasted until November 2005. While conducting tests for another transplant, it was discovered that she had bladder cancer.

Still, you'd never know she was battling a serious illness, McDarrah said.

In 2006, "with ankles swelling from kidney failure," she traveled to Utah, skiing for six days straight with her husband, son and friends. Then, just one day after returning home, she packed up the car and headed to Florida, this time with her son and two sisters in tow. During that same year, she even managed to fit in a river rafting trip in Oregon.

Mrs. Rosten-McDarrah's sister Gayle Rosten was on that Florida trip and remembered how, even in the worst of times, her "best friend" was focused on everyone else.

"She was all about pleasing others. ... She was full of good," Rosten said.

"While Christmas won't be the same for me, I think it will be better for her because she was in so much pain," Gayle Rosten said. "It is my belief that she is going to really enjoy this holiday."

Mrs. Rosten-McDarrah is also survived by her mother, LaVerne; and two other sisters, Dawn Rosten and Kristie Rosten.

Visitation will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday in St. Mary of the Woods Catholic Church, 7000 N. Moselle Ave., Chicago. A mass will be said at 10 a.m. Friday in the church.

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