WILMINGTON — Rose Bonanza DiMartino, 78, wife, mother, sister, singer, songwriter, recording artist and Grammy member, passed away Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in Wilmington, surrounded by the love of her husband and daughter.
Born Nov. 10, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York, Rose’s thirst for music, and ultimate music career, began at the age of three while in the care of Polish nuns at a Catholic convent; they were her first music teachers. Rose was placed in their care by her mother while her father, Thomas Bonanza, was gravely ill.
Music was Rose’s life. As a young teen, she sang with local groups in Brooklyn and was invited into larger, more professional groups, throughout the NYC area. At the age of 19, she was “discovered” by Ted Mack and offered a six-week contract for a show in Las Vegas. From there, she continued to get more offers from larger, more famous, casinos like The Sands.
For years Rose was one of the most popular lounge acts in Vegas and around the country. During the “Rat Pack” years in Vegas, when major stars like Dean Martin finished a show in the main room, they would go to Rose’s show in the lounge, often joining her for an improv song or two. Rose continued to perform throughout her life, more recently signing a three-album deal that led to her most successful album, Merry Christmas Baby, featuring her biggest hit, “Christmas Valentine,” she was invited to become a Grammy member as a result of its success.
Rose was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) six years ago. IPF is a terminal lung disease with no known cause and no known cure. Though she was handed this diagnosis, a true death sentence, she bravely soldiered on. Rose continued to sing, live her life to the fullest and love her family and friends from all walks of life with all of the fierce passion that defined who she was.
For 10 years, Rose performed a special charity concert on Valentine’s Day, her wedding anniversary, at Thalian Hall in Wilmington to help raise money and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis, a similar children’s version of this dreaded lung disease. Additional to her endless support for the U.S. military, as demonstrated by her numerous USO tours, this was her number one philanthropic focus.
Memorials are suggested to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or to a similar charity of the donor’s choice.
Her family and friends will receive visitors from 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 19, at Andrews Mortuary, 1617 Market St., Wilmington. The service will be an uplifting event featuring Rose’s music and many of her live performance videos; a true celebration of her life. Rose’s husband, Michael DiMartino, will eulogize her beginning at 7 p.m. He and Rose’s daughter, Martine DiMartino, welcome family and friends who also wish to speak, to do so at this time. Her funeral will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 20, at Saint Mark Catholic Church, 1011 Eastwood Road, Wilmington.
Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.