Though a baker by trade, the life of Rosemary Capshaw was, in her own words, “defined by the wolf.” She died Wednesday at the Charles Perrault Medical Center at age 93.
Capshaw grew up working at her grandmother’s bakery, delivering baked goods in the neighborhood. As a teenager, she spent more time baking than delivering and by the time she graduated high school she was running the kitchen. A few years later, her grandmother retired and Rose took over the expanding business. She renamed the bakery “Grandma’s House” and opened additional locations.
While on a hike to visit her grandmother’s summer mountain cabin when she was 24, Capshaw had the experience she says defined her true life’s work. She encountered a wolf. Having never seen a wolf before she panicked when the animal started growling and shot it.
Though the incident disturbed her, she agreed to the retelling of the story many times, eventually to a reporter from whom she learned she had likely killed the last wolf native to the state.
This news devastated Capshaw and she spent the rest of her life fighting to reintroduce wolves to the region. Even as her business grew into “Grandma’s Goodies,” found on grocery stores shelves everywhere, she was fighting to bring back the wolf, a lone voice for decades. In the mid-80’s, she introduced the “temptations” line of cupcakes and announced that 100% of profits would go to a fund for compensating ranchers who might lose livestock to reintroduced wolves. Many believe this idea, more than any other, was responsible for moving the effort forward.
Though she lived long enough to see the first eight wolves captured in Alberta for transport, she died the day before they arrived for release. She is survived by her son, Jacob, 61.