Rosebowl Cafe pioneer Mary McNabb dies, aged 95

Mary McNabb opened Feilding’s Rosebowl Cafe with her son in 1968.

selena mcnabb

Mary McNabb opened Feilding’s Rosebowl Cafe with her son in 1968.

The mastermind behind one of Manawatū’s beloved cafes has died.

Mary McNabb was the pioneer who established Feilding’s Rosebowl Cafe with her son, Robert, in 1968.

She died on December 12 at Wimbledon Villa, aged 95 years, after a short battle with illness.

Although the cafe remains in her family, McNabb hung up her apron when she was 92.

READ MORE:
* Feilding bakery’s cheeseburger pie a popular mash-up of fast-food staples
* Feilding’s popular Rosebowl Cafe will move to Kimbolton Rd

Selena McNabb had worked alongside her grandmother since 2001 and said she was a cheerful woman who lived for her clients.

“She loved interacting with people and she didn’t have much outside of work. Work was her social outing each day.

“She worked alongside Dad and they built it from there. She did everything – serving, making sandwiches, dishes, coffee.”

McNabb worked at the cafe until she was 92.

selena mcnabb

McNabb worked at the cafe until she was 92.

Mary NcNabb fronted the money for a small building on Fergusson St when her son was searching for a new career in the 1960s.

When her husband Stanley died in 1973, Mary came off the farm and moved into town. Work became her life.

Throughout her 50 years behind the counter, her family would often play tricks on her, such as making her wear Christmas hats, antlers and aprons.

“She had a great sense of humour… and she could laugh it off.”

Mary’s memory began to deteriorate and she was unable to cope when the cafe moved to another building on Kimbtolton Rd in 2018.

The cafe made national headlines when head baker Derek McNabb combined two icons of Kiwi convenience into one to create the double-cheeseburger pie.