My grandmother, Rose M.(Valzania) Cohen died on December 11, 2008 at the age of 96. She was the head of the family and an inspiring, independent presence in our lives. She was born in Italy in 1912 and in 1915 came to this country with her mother and sister on the last ship before the beginning of World War I. They joined her father and lived in New Hampshire. When he died in the flu epidemic of 1918, her mother and the three siblings moved to Dorchester, MA. She came from humble beginnings - the first houses that they lived in were without indoor plumbing or electricity. She attended a one room school house and only completed the 8th grade before she had to go to work to help the family.
She married my grandfather in 1936. While he was in Europe during World War II, she worked with her sisters at the retail store the extended family had started in the North End. After the war, they started a family, raised two daughters and moved to Milton, MA where she resided for 58 years.
She was very active in the community and in her children’s lives, and was a Girl Scout leader and PTA mother. She loved working outside and took pride in her vegetable and flower gardens.
She lost her husband after celebrating their 40th anniversary in 1976. This was a devastating loss, but she was determined to stay independent and to continue living in her house that held their life memories.
Over the next 32 years, she returned to work in retail until the age of 90, kept her license and drove until 92, and independently stayed in her house until 96 - only several months before her death. Her health remained good despite her arthritis and back problems. She exercised daily, ate well, cooked for herself and was determined to stay in her house until the end.
Unfortunately, at age 95 her years of anemia turned into multiple myeloma. Although this disease had started to weaken her, she was determined not to let it slow her down. She wanted to try a mild treatment of chemotherapy to see if it would slow down the disease. Always positive and never complaining through all the various doctor visits and treatments, it unfortunately failed to slow down the progress of the myeloma.
She celebrated her 96th birthday at home and then in September an infection started the downward spiral of her health. Her mind was sharp and her fighting spirit was strong, but her body was weakened by age and disease. She could not recover and passed away with family at her side December 11, 2008. She leaves behind a simple philosophy of life - be the best that you can be and be good to one another.
We would like to thank everyone that donated in Grandma Rose's memory.