Rosa was born the night the Lindberg baby was kidnapped March 1, 1932, in Abington, PA. She graduated from Abington High School in 1949 and received a B.S. from Urinus College in 1953 and a M.A. in Pupil Personnel Services from Trenton State College in 1972.
Rosa taught Physical Education in Pennsylvania and Michigan; the last 30 years of her teaching career were spent at Palmyra High School in Palmyra New Jersey. There she taught PE, coached the Hockey and Basketball teams, and was the Guidance counselor.
In 1957 she married Stewart B. Harkness, they became interested in History of Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia and led many tours there. They also wrote history of West Laurel Hill Cemetery.
Stew and Rosa moved to Daytona Beach, Florida in 1992 and became active in volunteering at the Port Orange YMCA, the Museum of Arts and Sciences and the Daytona Beach International Airport,