A Tribute to Rose Wilshire

The effervescence that was Vlasta “Rose” Bubenik-Wilshire ceased bubbling the first week of July 2018. “Rose” as she was known to the music world of Central Texas finally lost her long battle with cancer with dignity and grace, and went to heaven to bring joy to those who preceded her.

Rose was raised in the Sealy-Frydek area and spent what little free time the farm chores allowed attending polka dances, later moving to Houston for work as most Central Texas cotton pickers did.

Rose was the type of person at a dance that you heard before you saw, however it was not of the boastful talking or trying to dominate a conversation type. It was the sound of a person enjoying the music and people to its full extent through carefree yelps and laughter. When you located the source of the joyful sound, there she was, a tall woman with piles of curly hair framing twinkling eyes and a huge smile with lips more than likely painted fire engine red. She was one of those folks who was always glad to see you and you felt it, a kind of Czech Minnie Pearl.

Mike Gest first met her at New Taiton Hall where they had their first dance. On their first date, Rose hopped into Mike’s truck and they went off to eat. Mike slid in a Joe Patek CD, and she exclaimed, “Man, that sounds good!” Right then Mike knew this was the woman for him, and for the next 15 years they were a perfectly matched couple.

Rose became an avid supporter of Mike and his music. She became the cheerleader of bands Mike led - Moonglow Orchestra and Mike Gest and Night Session, along with Texas Legacy Czech Band and Mark Halata & Texavia. Mike plays bass in all of the bands. When Texavia released its recent CD, Live at Moravia Store, the guys dedicated it to Rose.

Her energy, singing (offstage), dancing barefoot, and laughter will be missed by those who knew her. For those who didn’t know her, well, they missed out.

Her sister, Margie, recalled, “One of my last memories of Rose was at a dance in Sealy. She wanted to dance really badly, and there were only couples, so she asked me to dance with her. I told her I was 'gimpy' because of a recent hip replacement and didn’t have dancing shoes on. She told me, 'Come on anyway, I’ll take it easy on you!' So we danced the Seven-Step Polka and, before we even got started good, both of us had our shoes flying to the corners of the dancehall. She was a hoot and lit up our lives. I am so thankful that Rose was my sister and my best friend.”

In addition to Margie, survivors include brothers, Charlie and Gilbert; daughter, Krystal Rose Helmintoller; and grandson, Kirby.

A free tribute dance will be held on Sun., Aug. 12 at Taiton Community Center, with music by Texas Legacy Czech Band and Mark Halata & Texavia. Donations will be accepted for the Cancer Research Institute. For more information see the ad on this page.

Texas Polka News

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