ROSENSTEIN--Perry. We warmly remember Perry Rosenstein, a lifelong champion of activists, artists, and educators engaged, like him, in creating a more just and equitable world. Perry passed away on April 3rd in his hometown of Teaneck, New Jersey due to COVID-19. Perry was born and raised in the Bronx to Tobah and Hyman, Polish emigres who instilled in him a passion for social justice. He volunteered to fight fascism in World War II, serving on the USS Wantauk, seeing action in Okinawa, Guam, and also in the ring as a Navy Boxer. He earned a Bachelor's degree from Indiana University where he organized for economic and racial justice and played on their Big 10 football team. After college, Perry married Dorothea Cohen who shared his ideals and with whom he raised three children: Judy, Carl, and Neal. Later in life, Perry earned a Masters in Education from LIU. Having been blacklisted from teaching due to his organizing work, Perry decided to apply his talents to industry. He developed a system of manufacture and distribution that revolutionized the field of fasteners. In 1983, his success enabled him to establish the Puffin Foundation in memory of Dorothea. Central to its mission is a mandate to nurture cultural life, especially evident in the thousands of grants awarded to artists and arts organizations that are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy. Perry's other major initiatives include the establishment of The Puffin Gallery for Social Activism at the Museum of the City of New York, dedicated to the history of activism in New York City; major support for investigative journalism at media outlets across the country; and the creation of the Puffin Prize for Creative Citizenship, a $100,000 award given to an individual who has challenged the status quo through courageous and socially responsible work. Recent recipients have included the Parkland Students and the Sunrise Movement. Teaneck had a special place in Perry's heart. He and his wife of many years, Puffin's Executive Director Gladys Miller-Rosenstein, established the Puffin Cultural Forum, which hosts an array of public programs. They also helped found and fund the Teaneck Creek Conservancy, the Teaneck International Film Festival, and countless other projects that enrich the community. Perry is survived by Gladys, his daughter Judy, sons Carl and Neal, his son-in-law Mark, his daughters-in-law Sabine and Yuko, grandchildren Tanya, Freya, and Oskar, his brother Donald and sister-in-law Grace, Miriam, the wife of his late brother Philip, stepdaughter and stepsons Terry, Larry, and Bruce and their spouses Tom, Lorraine, and Melanie, and step-grandchildren Mathew, Jordan, Robin, Bryan, Max, Sam, and Gabe, and many nieces and nephews. Perry's lifelong philanthropy nurtured and supported a tremendous range of organizations fighting for economic and social justice, a stronger democracy, artistic endeavors, and community programs that enriched the lives of ordinary people and empowered them to fight for change. While we mourn his loss, Perry's legacy will live on through the work of the Puffin Foundation which Gladys and Neal will continue to manage. Donations in Perry's memory can be made to the Teaneck Creek Conservancy, www.teaneckcreek.org
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Published in New York Times on Apr. 12, 2020.