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April 25, 1921 - August 04, 2013
Resident of Sunnyvale
May Rosen died quietly on August 4, 2013 at home. She had an adventuresome life, moving to California before it was fashionable, being a city girl learning to camp, traveling, and working for NASA. She loved music and cooking and spending time with her many friends.
May was born in 1921 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her parents emigrated to the US from eastern Europe before WWI. May grew up surrounded by family and fondly remembered weekend dinners with aunts, uncles and cousins. Her parents had a dress factory, which they were able to keep open during the Depression and her father had an automobile, unusual in those days, so they were able to take trips to the beach and the mountains. May had an older brother, Nat, and a younger sister, Sheila. She loved school and always regretted that she couldn't afford to go to college. She enjoyed studying history, literature and especially music - she played the piano and sang beautifully. She and her best friend Ruth would save their money and take the train into New York City to go to concerts and the Metropolitan Opera.
In the early 1940's, she met Eugene (Gene) Rosen. After Pearl Harbor, he joined the Department of the Navy and was sent to Hawaii to assist with cleaning up the damaged Navy vessels. They married after the war and moved to California, where they both worked at the Pt. Magu Naval Shipyard. Several years later, their daughter Vicki was born, followed two years later by their son Paul.
The family moved around California, finally settling in Palo Alto. In the early 1960's, May began working at NASA Ames and remained at NASA until her retirement in 1989. She was awarded the Employee of the Year award and was flown to Edwards AFB to see the Space Shuttle land. May made many good friends at Ames, including the members of the "Birthday Group", who continue to meet to celebrate each other's birthdays. She also met her great friend Pat Elson, who has been like a daughter to her. In the mid-1960's, May and Gene joined Temple Kol Emeth, where May sang in the choir and where they made lifelong friends.
In 1973, her son Paul was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. He underwent several surgeries and endured courses of chemotherapy, but eventually succumbed shortly after his 21st birthday. May and Gene separated shortly after Paul's death, but stayed in contact until his death, and May remained close to Gene's family, especially his niece Lois and her daughter Jill, who often visited May.
May loved to travel, eventually visiting France, Switzerland, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga, Canada and Great Britain, as well as many areas of the US.
May is survived by her daughter Vicki, her dear friend Pat, her beloved nieces Lois, Jill and Adrienne, and by the many friends she made over the course of her life. She was gracious, smart and adventurous and she will be missed.
Many thanks to her devoted caregiver Nenita of Synergy Healthcare, the staff at Sunrise of Sunnyvale and to Dr. Ferris and the staff at Kaiser Santa Clara, all of whom provided May with the best possible care, and made her last years as good as possible.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Aug. 31, 2013