Robert Rosen
1943 - 2018
BORN
1943
DIED
2018
FUNERAL HOME
Weinstein & Piser Funeral Home
111 Skokie Blvd
Wilmette, IL
Robert Rosen, May 6, 1943-January 4, 2018; Robert Baskin Rosen, the founder and president of the MPN Research Foundation, passed away on Thursday, January 4, from complications following a bone marrow transplant to treat Myelofibrosis. He was 74 years old. A longtime real estate executive who lived in Lincoln Park, he attended Highland Park High School, studied at Brown University, and receieved an MBA from Northwestern University. Rosen rose to the highest echelons of Chicago's industrial real estate world, and leaves behind a powerful legacy in the business community and intellectual circles of his beloved city. In 1997, Rosen was diagnosed with Polycythemia Vera, a rare and slow-moving blood cancer. In characteristic fashion, he responded to the diagnosis by by forming the MPN Research Foundation, which raises money to fund research into this variety of rare blood disorders. In the early years of the Foundation, working on a shoestring budget, Rosen applied his business acumen to the decidedly non-businesslike environment of academic research. According to one fellow at MPN, he "was instrumental in growing focus on the MPN family of blood diseases among the blood-cancer related scientific community. The establishment of the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) with the leading MPN scientists in the world was a huge step forward." Since its inception, the MPN Research Foundation has raised $20 million. Robert Rosen was born on May 8, 1943, the son of Solomon and Carolyn Rosen. His father was the first American-born child of a Polish and Belarus family that immigrated to Chicago prior to World War One, as a new wave of anti-Semitism was sweeping across Europe. Likewise, his mother's family left Russia shortly before the First World War. An avid outdoorsman and athlete, Rosen was an active Boy Scout, and later in life, he'd take his family on long trips-down the Missouri river retracing the journey of Lewis and Clark, skiing in Colorado, and summer hiking excursions in Wyoming. He never stopped playing tennis and basketball, and was a dedicated fan of the White Sox, Bears and Bulls. He had many hobbies, including woodworking and black-and-white photography, and was a dog lover who doted over two rescue mutts-Scannon and Duke-that still have starring roles in family stories. While attending Northwestern in the late 1960s, Rosen joined the Air National Guard, and would later get his pilot's license, setting in motion a lifelong love of aviation that in later years manifested mostly in a dedication to the history of flying, rather than the flying itself. After he earned his business degree, he joined Chicago's premier industrial real estate firm, Bennett and Kahnweiler, and was mentored by the legendary Marshall Bennett. B&K was a hard charging, take-no-prisoners outfit, and Rosen excelled in the high-pressure environment, quickly making his name by brokering a deal with the Pritzker family to develop the Centex Industrial Park. In the early 1980s, Rosen moved to Frain Camins & Swartchild. He was one of the first brokers on the staff, and was instrumental in growing the company to more 150 employees before it was sold in 1998. "Bob was always the devil's advocate, the person who would listen, challenge what you're trying to do, and come back with thoughtful commentary," says Ron Frain, Chairman of the Board. "He was the philosophical one." When Rosen was diagnosed with Polycythemia Vera in 1997, he kept a toe in the real estate world, but focused most of his attention on the MPN Foundation and his family and friends. Along with Ellen, his wife of more than 46 years, Rosen found unchanging refuge in all seasons at the small lakeside community of Sleepy Hollow, in South Haven, Michigan. Here, he was an active board member and was rarely happier than when his three children and four grandchildren would come stay throughout the summer. During the day, he'd bike the Cal-Haven Trail, play tennis, and stretch out his 6'6" frame on a pool chair, Chicago Tribune in hand, to talk politics or spin yarns about his own childhood. Before dusk, he'd grill bratwursts he'd picked up at Gepperth's or Gene's in Chicago. Some nights he'd drive into South Haven for an ice cream cone at Sherman Ice Cream. In Chicago, Rosen moved from his beloved brownstone on North Dayton Street, where he and his family lived for 34 years, to an apartment overlooking Lake Michigan. But he remained a member (as well as a member of the board) of the Standard Club. Here, he worked out and played basketball as often as possible. He also sat on the board of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, the Oscar Meyer Parents Group, the 2314 Condo Board, the Sleepy Hollow Condo Board, and served as a player on the Senior Olympics basketball team. This summer, his Polycythemia Vera abruptly converted to Myelofibrosis, and Rosen set up camp in his eldest daughter's house in Manhattan as he underwent treatment at Cornell Weill. Between walks around the city, holding court at weekly Shabbat dinners, and meetings with doctors, Rosen undertook editing a memoir that he had spent the past few years writing. He remained philosophical to the end: "I love my life. A highlight is grandchildren. But it comes with a lingering concern that the close enriching relationships I enjoyed with my own grandparents and their families will not be replicated; that my own grandchildren will not know me well enough to confer a little of that immortality that comes from remembering." He needn't worry. In addition to Ellen, Rosen is survived by three children, Rebecca, Molly, and Zachary, three siblings, Joyce, Laurence, and Richard, countless cousins, and innumerable close friends. He adored his four grandchildren, Roxy (11), Simon (8), Sunny (5), and Coco (3), and they adored him back. To them, he will always be remembered as Grandpa Bea. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, January 11th, 2018 at Congregation KAM Isaiah Israel, 1100 E. Hyde park Blvd. Chicago, IL. Interment to follow at Westlawn Cemetery, Norridge, IL. For funeral information: 847-256-5700.


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Published by Chicago Tribune on Jan. 10, 2018.
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16 Entries
I am sorry for such a late response, but I just learned about Bob's passing. For a short but very influential period of his life, Bob spearheaded projects for ShoreBank (the old South Shore Bank) as it assessed its real estate holdings and development strategy. I was legal counsel to ShoreBank at the time and his guidance and expertise were invaluable. Bob and I continued to stay in touch from time to time. I am grateful for his friendship, intelligence, wit and kindness. I know he will live on in the memory of all who had the honor to know him.

Linda Vernon Goldberg
Linda Goldberg
February 3, 2020
Condolences again to his immediate and larger family-I'm sure time without Bob has been difficult and his absence created deep sadness. Hopefully it's a comfort that others also remember him and benefitted from his generous spirit.
shelley
Classmate
January 4, 2020
I had a close feeling relationship with Bob growing out of our proximity during some formative years. Although after H.S., we were in touch only on FB and reunions where he sought me out to catch up, Bob reminded me of our bond as kids when he saw me in 2011 at our 50th. When we were 14, his family and mine were charter members of Birchwood, the swim and tennis club. I was especially close to his parents who were unusually warm and supportive of me which was particularly welcome as my father had just died. Bob's family became a role model for me.
When we were 14 at our first Turn Around Dance, my mother drove me and Bob and our dates. Our families were charter members of the same temple so we saw each other every Sunday and forged a close relationship through Arnie Wolf during our small, intimate confirmation training and at a party afterwards at my house. In high school, Bob, Claudia and I were paired in every class together. His warmth and sensitivity will be greatly missed by me. I feel terrible he is not physically on this earth.
Katharine Baum
Classmate
February 21, 2018
My name is Claudia Harris Brown. Bob and I were confirmed in the same confirmation class at Congregation Solel in Highland Park, Illinois in 1959. We had remained in contact all through the years and reminisced over our class memories, especially those of Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf. I sent Bob a New Year's note and did not hear from him, and today it occurred to me that he would have written in answer by now. I am deeply saddened to learn of his passing. Bob was a giant in everything that he did. His height was only an outward manifestation of how large was his kindness,his warmth,his intelligence,his love of life. I last saw him in Chicago when I came from California for our 50th high school reunion and he and I had breakfast together and enjoyed catching up. The world has lost a very dear man and he will not be forgotten by any who knew him. I send my deepest condolences to his family.
February 20, 2018
Bob was a man of valor, caring and thoughtful; always kind. I am so grateful that he joined my lunch with Ellen last year, and then convinced me to join him in a Chartreuse aperitif. His toast? "to life". My favorite of Bob's many virtues was his obvious love and devotion to Ellen. His love for his children & grandchildren was no less. His passing leaves a hole in the universe. Thank you, Ellen for giving me the opportunity to know him.
Mindy Siegman Gaynor
February 15, 2018
Bob was one of those rare people who, even in childhood, was always warm, caring, extremely competent, interesting and a very compelling personality. I'm not surprised to read of his many accomplishments, and am very sorry to know he's no longer here. My condolences to the family. shelley
February 8, 2018
Bob was one of the first people I talked to when I was
diagnosed in 2003 with PV. I also had the chance to meet Bob in 2005. Bob's spirit will always live on through the people he touched and through the work he has created.
A truly genuine and great man. My condolences to the family.
Chris Wilson
January 14, 2018
We were deeply saddened when we heard of the passing of Robert Rosen. We will always remain grateful that he formed the MPN Research Foundation as this Foundation was a port in the storm when my husband was diagnosed with Polycythemia Vera in 2007. Over the years we have donated to the Foundation but felt that the Foundation gave us more than we could ever give it.
Al and Margaret Cardinale
January 12, 2018
To the family of Mr. Rosen, I cannot begin to express how saddened I was upon learning of his passing. During my time as the concierge of the Standard Club Mr. Rosen was nothing but kind and a respectable man , We often laughed about our towering over people , it was an honor to have known him . He will be greatly missed
Grayson Hendricks
January 11, 2018
In deepest sympathy for the loss of someone who had a great impact on my life as I also was diagnosed with PV in 2001 and have benefitted from the research provided by the MPN FOUNDATION.
Marilyn Canon
January 11, 2018
My condolences to your family from your neighbor across the street from 326 Rodger Williams, Highland Park Illinois where you were raised
Johnny Chamberlin
735 Baldwin Road
JOHN CHAMBERLIN
January 11, 2018
Bob was tenacious, curious, diligent, caring, fun to be with and great to work with. His work ethic and passion for finding a cure for MPNs were inspirational and infectious. His love for family was obvious as was his love of sports and all things Chicago.

As a member of the MPNRF board I know we are all committed to honoring and remembering Bob through increased efforts to improve the lives of people living with an MPN. On a more personal note, I will miss Bob greatly and feel honored and enriched to have known him. I offer my most sincere condolences to his family.
Respectfully,
Pam
Pam Murphy
January 11, 2018
Ours hearts our heavy upon hearing of Bob's passing. It was a pleasure working with Bob at the MPNRF these past years and I learned a lot from him. I was inspired by his dedication to the cause and his undying perseverance. He was a wonderful leader and mentor and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bob's entire family.
JoAnn, Jaclyn and John Mason
Washington, DC
January 10, 2018
Dear Rosen Family,

I was very saddened to learn of Bob' passing. Over the years our paths crossed often in the world of real estate, tennis (I always lost to him!) and The Standard Club. I always considered him to be a mensch and a most enjoyable person to speak with. Please accept my heartfelt condolences and great respect for the tremendous efforts he put into MPN in his quest to help others similarly afflicted.
Jamey Fadim
January 10, 2018
We are so sorry to hear of Bob's passing. He was a wonderful, kind, intelligent man. Our condolences to Ellen and the entire family.
Laura and Eric Kordish
January 10, 2018
In some way you have touched all of us with MPN's. I am grateful for all you have done to help us get this far. You will always be missed. Prayers and condolences to your family. Rest In Peace Robert
Diane Dukette
January 10, 2018
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