Estelle von Zellen, 95, passed away August 13, 2019 in the Kishwaukee Hospital Emergency Room in DeKalb, Illinois.

Estelle was born August 12, 1924 in Virginia, Minnesota to Ruth Bullard and Frank J. Rosemeier. She received her B.A. from Carleton College in Northfield Minnesota 1946, majoring in Sociology. She married the late Bruce von Zellen in Virginia, Minnesota on December 19, 1949.

She taught kindergarten in Michigan and Kentucky, and was on the staff of the Women’s College Library at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Her one daughter, Mary was born in 1958.

She earned a Masters Degree in Library Science at Northern Illinois University in 1967 and was employed in the children’s department for several years at the NIU Laboratory School. She was employed as a Children’s Librarian in Rochelle at the Flagg Township Library. She established Rose-Zell Children’s Books business which mainly served school book fairs, workshops and influences in surrounding areas. She was a charter member of the Children’s Literature Conference at NIU.

She and her husband enjoyed many trips to woods and water in Minnesota and Wisconsin and cross country skiing in the winter. She enjoyed book clubs, Thursday Arts, Columbia Book Club and the University Women’s Club. She was a silver duplicate bridge master, played mah jongg and participated in Lifelong Learning classes. She was a founding member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in DeKalb in 1960 and became a member of the Prairie Buddhist Sangha in 1989.

She is survived by her daughter, Mary of DeKalb; a sister, Ruth G. Saranen and niece Kathy Rice of Virginia and Tower Minnesota; included are numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins, Susan Kreiger of Madison, Wisconsin, John and Linda von Zellen of Romeo, Michigan, and Mike and Marlene Schuele of Liberty, Missouri; also surviving are Sandy D. Johnson of Bumsville, Minnesota, John ‘Jack” Jeffery of Ely, Minnesota, Ann M. Tarango of Cypress, California and Paul and Carol G. S. Ciolino of Nashville, Tennessee.

Special Thank You to Oak Crest Retirement Center.


A Celebration of Life was held. on Wednesday, August 21, 2019.

Donations may be made in Estelle von Zellen’s name to, MidAmerica Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association, 2355 Fairview Ave N. #312, Roseville, MN 55113.

To plant a tree in memory of Estelle von Zellen as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.

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