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Rose Arzola

1927 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Rose Arzola Obituary
October 5, 1927 - December 5, 2016 Rose Arzola, the inspiration for the founding of the Downtown Women's Center, Los Angeles's first and only center for women experiencing homelessness, died on Monday, December 5, 2016, following health complications related to age. She was 89. At the time of her passing, Rose was living in a senior care facility in Los Angeles. Previously, she had lived in the Downtown Women's Center's permanent supportive housing residence after becoming the Center's first resident in 1986, paving the way for the 119 residents who live there today. In 1975, Downtown Women's Center founder Jill Halverson was introduced to Rose, and they quickly struck up a friendship. Halverson would visit Rose in her make-shift shelter in a parking lot, stopping by to say hello or to chat over coffee. A bright, loving person with a keen sense of humor, Rose had cleaned homes and cooked meals for families in Los Angeles after moving there from Texas, where she was born. She eventually began experiencing signs of mental illness that grew more severe throughout her 20s, and she was in and out of psychiatric hospitals before she ended up homeless in Skid Row. Knowing that, at the time, agencies in downtown Los Angeles were not used to serving or equipped to serve women, Jill was inspired by her friendship with Rose to open the Downtown Women's Center in 1978. "Rose was a loving, caring soul, and my friend. She is the reason the Downtown Women's Center exists today, and she leaves behind an important legacy carried by the Downtown Women's Center," said Jill Halverson. "Rose will be deeply missed." Well-known in downtown Los Angeles in the 1970s and 80s, Rose was the inspiration for the female lead character in Ralph Waite's 1980 film, "On the Nickel." In her spare time, she enjoyed listening to Spanish radio and Mexican music. Rose is survived by her nephew, Robert, and her cousin, Bob. A rosary and funeral mass will be held on Friday, December 16, at 9:30am at St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church, 332 N. Ave. 61, Los Angeles, CA 90042. To honor Rose's life and legacy, flowers and donations can be sent to the Downtown Women's Center: 442 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles, CA 90013.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Dec. 14 to Dec. 15, 2016
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