Bernice Helene Rose, 1930-2018
Bernice “Bunny” Helene Rose, 88, passed away in Santa Rosa on Oct. 31, 2018, after a long period of illness. Bunny was born in 1930 in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a first-generation daughter of Polish immigrants. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was in her teens and they lived just above the Sunset Strip. One of her first jobs was at a movie theater on Fairfax Avenue where she humorously recalled selling a ticket to the actor Sidney Greenstreet, holding it so tight that he had to ask her to let go. In 1954 she met Ernie Rose, her husband of 64 years, on a blind date – only to discover that they were both from Squirrel Hill and had been members of the same synagogue, Beth Shalom, where Ernie’s father was the Rabbi.
Bunny was a passionate musician who instilled a deep love of music in her children. A beautiful soprano in her youth, she loved Schubert art songs and singing in choirs, especially under the direction of Don Lee White in his church choir. She was an accomplished pianist, adored the Bach French Suites, played baroque music in small ensembles, and studied harpsichord under the renowned musicologist Alan Curtis. Bunny taught Suzuki piano in Claremont, California, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was adored by her students. She was a voracious reader; she sought a deeper understanding of herself and others through her study of Jungian psychology, and her morning coffee was almost always accompanied by the New York Times crossword puzzle.
Bunny will be remembered for her compassionate and nurturing spirit, her bawdy sense of humor, delicious gourmet cooking, her memorable faculty parties, and her conversation sometimes seasoned with Yiddish words she had learned as a child. Bunny is survived by her loving family: her husband Ernie, her children Abby, Adam (and Yona Adams) and Jason (and Katherine Mitchell), and her granddaughter Naomi. Her sisters, Bertha Kestenbaum, Nora Simon, and Ruth Cron, and her parents Joseph and Sara Gerson predeceased her. A private memorial will be planned for a time in the not too distant future. May her memory be a blessing.