After two years of courtship as high school sweethearts, Rose and I married on November 21st, 1971. We knew then, as we knew to the end, that this was an unconditional love that would be forever. Our life moved forward with buying our first home and then starting our family– Jennifer was born in 1974 and William in 1975.
Rose was the perfect girlfriend, perfect wife, perfect mother and eventually perfect grandmother as our family continued to grow. She, however, would protest my claim of “perfection,” because she was perfectly humble as well. But anyone who knew Rose would agree that she was just that–perfect.
After years of going from doctor to doctor, and two cases of optic neuritis, Rose was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis by Dr. Patricia Coyle at Stony Brook University in NY in 1980. It was five years after our son was born, and despite the devastating news, Rose continued running the household and raising our children, never complaining or asking for any special help or support.
When our children were well established in school, Rose went for training in the art of stained glass and soon afterward began teaching others in adult education classes and Brookhaven Town recreation centers in Suffolk County, NY. She also performed various classes in arts and crafts for a handicapped group called HANDS (Handicapped Adults New Directions in Suffolk) and eventually became a member of that group.
As her MS slowly caused her to have less mobility, Rose wasn’t afraid to use the tools available to get around including scooters and a hand controlled van. Then in 1990 after a major surgery, Rose had additional setbacks that eventually caused her to become a quadriplegic. Unable to work and ultimately unable to move more than her head, she dedicated more of her time to HANDS. She was able to raise the awareness of the plight of the disabled in our community through her dedicated focus to the cause. Elected vice president of the group and then unanimously chosen to fill the founder’s position as president in 2003, after his passing, Rose’s tireless accomplishments for this group were significant. She went on to get grants for computers and training in their use for the membership and funded meals for all the members at their monthly meetings. Then in 2009, she decided the winters in New York were not allowing her to get out and pursue many of the activities she wanted to do, and so she turned over the HANDS group to the next in line, and we moved to The Villages in Florida in 2010.
Rose was one of the first who was aware of how to let technology aid her capabilities to the fullest. She was using a computer hands-free since 1995 and continued to embrace all of the advancements. This innate desire for knowledge and to be of help, led Rose to the MS Village People support group. The group shared Rose’s interests in educating its members on the latest treatments and therapies– she jumped right in and wanted to help. She felt blessed that the leadership was very welcoming and it wasn’t like the “pity party” meetings she had attended in the past. Here if she saw something that she thought might help her, she could pass that on to the group. She would try it and bring back her experience to share with the others. And as she found out, as time went on, she knew she could always count on the membership to offer her their love and support during the highs and lows of this disease. And I must tell you that right up until the end on July 27th, 2017, she was a champion to push for finding treatments to slow the disease, repair the damage caused by the disease and ultimately cure the disease.
It was her wish that if you had a thought of giving a gift, sending flowers, or contributing to a cause that you would instead give what you could to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Any contribution would be perfect.
Dear Friends and Family,
I would like to invite you to take part in the memorial Service for Rose on August 26th at 11am:
Where: St Georges Episcopal Church
1250 Paige Pl, Lady Lake, FL 32159
(Click the link below for a map)
After the service there will be a lunch served in the church Parish Hall for all who attend.
Please know that if you can’t attend that our family will be forever grateful in how you may have been connected to Rose and that Rose will know that you carried her around in a special place in your heart. If you are thinking about flowers, or other ways to show your appreciation for having been touched by her in your life please consider a donation to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (Click on the link below) and scroll down to see Rose’s donation link. If you would prefer to donate by check please send your check made payable to NMSS care of Steve Berkovitz (Chairman of the MS WALK Fundraiser) 17456 SE 71st Currituck Terrace The Villages Florida 32162
Two other organizations that provided support for Rose before and during her final hours was St. Georges Episcopal Church and Cornerstone Hospice. An I can never thank them enough for all that they did to help make Rose and our family comfortable during these difficult times.
Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care Foundation
The Villages, Florida 32162-3640
For those of you who will be up north this fall we will be having a service in NY and I will be setting that in place over the next few weeks.