SOME WOMXN OF ROSLINDALE
It Takes A Village....
From the Editor Janice Williams This booklet was created as a historical document for future generations to know some* of the wonderful womxn of Roslindale. When I moved to Roslindale in 1993, I became very involved in the community. I looked around to find out some of the history and was grateful to have a document authored by David and Judith Kunze called “Superb Suburb”. I fell in love with Roslindale and its potential through this document. Read it here https://www.roslindalehistoricalsociety.org/post/superb-suburb. When I moved here, the business district was almost totally abandoned and severely neglected. At that time many business owners and the City of Boston were working hard to revitalize a once booming shopping district. Roslindale was the location for the first Boston Main Street program brought by Mayor Menino. Both my husband Glenn and I eagerly became involved with Roslindale Village Main Street and a growing local art community as well. I volunteered along with other community members to help revitalize Roslindale. Now many years later I still live in Roslindale and cherish the fruits of everyone’s hard work and passion. Roslindale today bustles with busy shops, restaurants, banks, personal services, a food pantry, a community refrigerator, a farmers’ market, a nature center, an arboretum, a medical center, library, swimming pool, post office, churches, commuter rail, community centers, social security office, grocery store, specialty food stores, parks, an independent pharmacy and more, all within walking distance for most residents. Roslindale is a wonderful diverse and caring community because of the people who live here. I chose as my first Roslindale compilation to focus on womxn as a great deal of the Roslindale revitalization has been shaped by womxn. Womxn continue to be active and creative business owners and community leaders. These are their stories. Each womxn listed provided their bio in their own words. To get a PDF of this booklet, I am asking that a donation be made that will go to Roslindale Village Main Street. To get your copy emailed to you, donate ($5.00 minimum) here: https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=5WLFV9MTEXPKC *I spent about a year gathering photos and bios (a great COVID pandemic project). Any womxn in Roslindale was invited to participate. Some declined and some I know will be disappointed that they either didn’t meet the deadline, or they never saw the notices. For that reason, I am giving this the notation of Volume 1. Should I get another round of photos and bios I will do a volume 2. More info at http://www.artstudio99.com. All Rights Reserved by Janice Williams 2021
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE MÉLIDA ARREDONDO Morning During an Epidemic By Mélida Arredondo Open eyes. Feel my dog Sugar’s warmth against me; Breathing is tranquil. Thank you, God, for a new day. Open window shades to reveal sun or not. Sun! A sunrise. Pink and orange rays of sunshine dancing with the clouds before me! Teeth to brush. My friends – Twelve have died due to the epidemic. Turn on the shower; Stick a toe in to test for warmth. Memories of the two boys’ deaths so young; Mamá and Papá gone I seek God more. I use soap, shampoo, conditioner. Strong memories: My loved ones reach to me through the water drops. COVID distance keep still alive kin and friends away. Phone and WhatsApp instead. I step out of the tub; Sugar greets me to lick my wet legs dry.
LEAH ARTEAGA To my 3 boys, I’m mom that works 10-hour days at the hospital and dedicates weekends to the Roslindale Collective food program. To neighbors, I’m someone with boundless energy who constantly helps others. For those who know me: I’m driven; can’t say no and I go the extra mile to make sure everyone is taken care of. Who am I? Someone with the desire to help as many as possible, to meet the needs of others. As Winston Churchill said, “You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.” I’m making a life.
CARLA BALZANO My name is Carla! I am a proud, lifelong Roslindale resident! I’ve watched this wonderful neighborhood grow and thrive throughout my life. I am so proud to be from Roslindale! In high school, I volunteered at the farmers’ market, and even worked at Roslindale Village Main Street in the summer of 2009. I am a small business owner. I provide makeup services for weddings and special events. I’ve had the pleasure of having quite a few Roslindale locals sit in my makeup chair! I intend on remaining in Roslindale for as long as I can.
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE SADIE FOX BAROCAS, MED, MS If something needs doing, I do it. I am a wife and mother, consummate teacher and friend. My days are filled to overflowing but somehow, I find time to do more. It has been an honor and privilege to support our community through my work with the Brookline Food Co-Op and Roslindale Collective getting food to over 100 families each week. My bucket overflows with the compassion and dedication of the folks I have met as a result of this opportunity and look forward to our continued collaboration.
RUBY BIRD Ruby Bird is a singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and co-founder (with husband Bill) of the eclectic original rock group Bird Mancini. Together they’ve performed far and wide, from West Coast to The Cavern Club in Liverpool, and continue to perform regionally and locally. They’ve opened for well-known artists such as Leon Russell, David Crosby, and Joan Osborne. Their critically acclaimed catalog includes 8 CDs and they are regular contributors to Roslindale’s Lowbudget Records tribute compilations. They’ve been honored with nominations by Boston Music Awards, New England Music Awards, Limelight Magazine, and twice named in the Year’s Top 10 by Metronome Magazine.
PHYLLIS BLUHM I am a 71 year-old woman who has been living and doing art in Roslindale from my studio apartment for the last 25 years. My painting mediums are primarily acrylic and encaustic. But I also intermittently do assemblages and have done 2 large collaborative mosaics, The most recent one can be seen in the outside courtyard of Sophias. They are 3 playful images (40 by 40) of musical instruments, and musicians from different ethnic backgrounds with the theme that Roslindale is for everyone. I am extremely proud to have my artwork in an area of Roslindale where people from all over congregate. The 2 women I collaborated with are also Roslindale Artists, Vivien Shalom and Nina Lev.
Roslindale Historical Society https://www.roslindalehistoricalsociety.org
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE JESSICA BOROGOVAC
As a resident of Roslindale, MA since 2006, I’ve been proud to live here and am fond of all that Roslindale has to offer. From 2007-2013, I worked at Ethos (senior services) in Jamaica Plain. I met one of my best friends Mary Ellen Gambon who worked in the Nutrition department at Ethos and I met Janice Williams who worked in the Community Relations department. In June of 2013, I gave birth to my identical twin daughters and decided to leave Ethos to raise my children full time. They are first grade students at the Sumner School in Roslindale. Since the March 2020 closing of schools due to the COVID-19 virus, I have been homeschooling my kids. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, I enjoyed volunteering in my kids’ classroom, chaperoning field trips and attending school activities.
SISTER NANCY BRACELAND In 2000, Sister Nancy Braceland arrived in Roslindale to co-found the Casserly House on Stellman Road. This ministry, an outreach to the neighborhood, offers ESOL and citizenship classes to immigrant adults and an after school program for the neighborhood children. Partnering with neighbors, the City, the Police, Housing managers, the Vietnam Temple, the neighborhood grew in safety and offers new opportunities to the residents in the area.
LINDA BURNETT Linda was born on Mission Hill and raised in Mattapan and Hyde Park, settling down in Roslindale in 1995. Her dad, Charlie, was a business owner in Mattapan Square for decades and taught her by example the value and importance of giving back to the community. He was a member of the local board of trade, the local Lions chapter, and CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality. When she found her niche as a Realtor in the Roslindale-Jamaica Plain area, it was natural for Linda to seek ways to become involved in the communities that provide her livelihood. From the Litter Posse to Casserly House to crooning with the Roslin-Dolls, Linda has been there. Her nature is steadfast, gregarious, results-driven and most importantly, she creates a sense of welcome and fun in all that she does.
Roslindale Village Main Street https://roslindale.net - has a business directory
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE DONNA CABRAL
Donna Cabral was a Roslindale resident and a popular businesswoman in Roslindale Village. She was an active member of the Roslindale Board of Trade, and had served as President. She assisted and conducted the Roslindale Festival under its auspices. She was a professional photographer and film developer who opened and operated Photo Image Plus and Jimmies Ice Cream Parlor in Roslindale Village. She volunteered her services as a photographer and developer at many fundraisers and special events sponsored by area non-profits. Her services were especially appreciated at popular children’s events conducted by Roslindale Village Main Street.
ADRIANA CILLO Adriana Cillo has been a long-standing and very active member of the Sacred Heart Parish, serving on numerous committees, raising money, and organizing programs activities. She was a co-director of a successful community-wide effort to raise money and awareness of the need to bring a supermarket to Roslindale Village to jump-start a revitalization of Roslindale Village. Adriana organized and led a Litter Posse to address the issue of litter in Roslindale Village. The group successfully advocated for increased street cleaning services and barrel placement by the city. The State responded by offering a $1 refund for returning losing scratch tickets.
BETH COLUMBO Beth Columbo, resident for 33 years, is the President of the First Spiritualist Church of Quincy. She has co run her neighborhood crimewatch for over 32 years. She has received awards from Mayor Menino, the Boston City Council and Boston Police in recognition of her community work. She is the cofounder of the newly formed group South West Boston Civic Association, which includes residents of West Roxbury, Roslindale and Hyde Park. The group was formed to work on community issues that affect the people of these towns on a daily basis. She is the mother of 3 and grandmother of 2.
JUDITH COUGHLIN I have deep roots in wonderful Roslindale, where I visited my paternal grandparents and many cousins for my entire childhood. My husband, Frank Blanchard, and I finally moved here in 1983. We loved it then, and it’s only gotten better. Through my early career as a Flight Attendant at Eastern Airlines I discovered the Labor Movement and have followed that passion ever since. The Labor Movement has opened my eyes to many other social justice issues in a continuing journey to make the world a better place. As a retiree, I’m hoping to spend more time at live music, travel, reading, and, of course, continuing the struggle for justice.
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE DEB DEBENEDICTUS I married into Roslindale. When my husband-to-be met me ballroom dancing, our first date was dinner at Sophia’s Grotto, a Village walk-through, and a visit to a small, darkened store, Tony’s Market. I didn’t quite ‘get it’ but as I began to understand running a long-term neighborhood store, I was led to drive its renovation, expansion and move. We were vendors at the Farmer’s Market and created Opera in the Village. I spent ten, sometimes contentious, years with Main Street, seven on “THE BOARD”, while consulting at City on a Hill Charter school, and became principal at Shaloh House in Brighton.
JACKIE DELISI In 2004 Jackie DeLisi was six months pregnant with her second child when she moved to Roslindale with her husband, son, and dog. Growing up she lived in many places, including Los Alamos, Washington DC suburbs, and Long Island, but Roslindale quickly became home. She has enjoyed raising her children among the close community and friends in Roslindale. She had been a public-school science teacher, completed a doctorate in education in 2008, and has since worked for a local non-profit conducting research on STEM education. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, watching wildlife, and cooking vegan food.
DOROTHY DERIFIELD Dorothy Derifield is a Poet and author whose most recent work is “Zero Plus Time” (Cherry Grove, 2020). She is a member of the directing committee for the poetry reading series Rozzie Reads and the co-director of the long-running literary reading series Chapter and Verse. She is a retired science writer and editor and a past winner of the Mayor’s Garden Contest. She lives with her husband, Jeff Chasin and cat Valentine.
Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center https://www.roslindale.org
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE CHERYL DEVITT Born just outside of Detroit, Cher has lived most of her life in Mass. She earned her BA from UMass Boston, where she studied English. She worked in her field for several years as an independent bookseller, a library circulation assistant and as a writer. Her work appears in the anthologies One Art (Henderson), Out of the Blue Writers Unite (Priestly, Gager) and she has self-published various zines showcasing others’ work in addition to her own. Cher is a singer and proudly performs annually in support of the JP Music Festival. She has performed at Porchfest, The Bella Luna, Tres Gatos, The Middle East Upstairs, Great Scott at the Square Root, where she also worked for a year. Her ties to Roslindale stem from her 8 years career as dog walker for Hounds About Town under Tina Alderman. She is currently focusing her efforts on her small business, Cher Devitt Organizing, where she finds great satisfaction in helping others.
LISA DIPETRO & LISA SCHLOSSBERG Lisa DiPietro and Lisa Schlossberg have been living in Roslindale since 1994. They opened The Pet Cabaret in 2003 hoping to provide Roslindale residents with healthier products as well an alternative to shopping at big box pet stores. With the generosity and loyalty of their customers Lisa and Lisa have been able to build The Pet Cabaret into a community centered store for pets and their people, even winning Best Of Boston in 2018.Lisa and Lisa love the friendly and diverse feel of Roslindale and remain proud Rozzie residents.
FRANCES DOWNEY My name is Frances (Frannie) Downey. I am currently living in Canton and proud to say I was born and raised a “Rozzie” girl, no matter the correct spelling! I have been in local bands as a lead singer for the past 30 years and am also an awardwinning photographer. I feel blessed that my life is so full of creativity and the arts. I am currently the president of the Norwood Art Association and beginning another chapter with a new band. I am mom to an awesome 25 -year- old son and look forward to our future adventures!
Roslindale Parade Committee https://www.roslindaleparade.com
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE MARION DOWNEY I am Marion (Tortorici) Downey. Born in the North End, I moved to Roslindale with my husband’s family in the 1960’s. We raised our five children in Roslindale. I never drove, so needed to work close to home. I worked at Sparkle’s Cleaners, Kresge’s and Kelleher’s Market. Over thirty years ago I took a job at Sullivan’s Pharmacy, and never left! To all at Sullivan’s I am known as the Mayor of Roslindale, because everyone who comes in knows me. It’s my home away from home. I am lucky to have been part of the Laham Family for so many years.
JEANNE DUBOIS After 42 years, Roslindale is our favorite family neighborhood. Bill Coyne and I married here, bought a home, raised 2 kids, have a great crime watch and block parties. I worked with Mass Fair Share, then Project ACTS local churches, who won park upgrades, brought the RVM, & Flaherty Pool rehab. In 1985, RVMS started fixing up buildings. I joined the board to help find “anchor businesses.” Councilor Menino funded a study, which was positive. Our “shareholder campaign” raised >$30K from local businesses*, $80K from families, $400,000 grants, free inventory, $2M in debt. Mayor Menino got financing for RVMC to buy the Kelleher Market and Rix Pharmacy. The environmental “clean up” bill totaled $900K; so the market deed transferred to the city to clean-up and find an operator, who is still here. The RV Market opened in 1998, and 20 years later was named the “business of the year”. During COVID, RVMS used funds earned from the Market to help other businesses. We can build on this! In 2020, as Executive Director of Southwest Boston CDC, we recently bought a 26 unit mixed-income apartment building at 4345-4351 Washington St. to keep people in their homes. (*Ros Coop Bank donated $20K) - photo with daughter Sarah
MARREY EMBERS Marrey Embers, Ed.D., was Board President of Boston Urban Gardeners (BUG) which re-purposed vacant land into community gardens and parks in Boston neighborhoods. Her consulting focus--Bridging Leadership, Diversity and Organizational Transformation--impacted dozens of Boston’s non-profit organizations and the Department of Defense to the Institute for Conservation Leadership. She facilitated Greening Rozzie’s strategic planning process in 2010-2011. Hosting sessions during Porch Fest, her backyard is a frequent gathering for Irish performers, and she is a certified Laughter Yoga leader. Her prison ministry for City Mission Boston created innovative re-entry programs for ex-offenders. She continues to lead anti-racism workshops.
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE MIRANDA FARIS Miranda Faris (aka Randi Laufman) is a Life and Career Coach to Roslindale and beyond, and has worked in Roslindale for 15 years offering Prenatal Yoga and Postnatal Yoga (Baby and Me Yoga) classes and greeting the many babies born into this great village! Her nurturing classes have supported many on their journey to becoming new parents and she has a strong commitment to helping women build community for one another, as well as combat postpartum depression with the healing practice of yoga. In her coaching practice, she supports anyone going through a career transition, or returning to the workforce after a career break.
TERRY FITZGERALD I am a proud long-time Roslindale resident and the principal owner and operator of Centre Cuts Salon & Spa located at 6 Belgrade Avenue in Roslindale Village. We celebrate our 40th year in business this year; we started in Jamaica Plain in 1980 and have been in operation Roslindale for the last 22 years. Being a Roslindale resident for the last 35 years I was happy to relocate our business too Roslindale in 1998 and committed to be an active participant in the revitalization of the business district. Our salon was welcomed upon opening by the business community and residents and has grown consistently as the years have gone by. Our success has allowed us to give back to community organizations in Roslindale by giving of our time and resources to support them and their missions. I personally currently serve as a board member for Roslindale Village Main Street, board member of Rogerson Communities, Inc., and an active member of the Roslindale Business Group.
KATHY FOLEY My love of Roslindale started in 1969 when I started taking a bus from West Roxbury, then walking up Cummins Highway to St. Clare High. Back then we had several small businesses in the square where you could get anything you wanted. I grew up in West Roxbury and am the oldest of 10 children. We bought our first home in Roslindale in 1981and have lived here ever since. Returning to college later in life, I got my Gerontology degree from UMass Boston in 2006. Since then, I’ve worked with elders in Brookline, Cambridge and for the past 12 years, at Springhouse in Jamaica Plain. My four children are now successful adults. I’m proud of what they offer our world. Being with my grandchildren gives me the most pleasure as I secretly wait for more!
Roslindale Arts Alliance and PorchFest http://www.roslindalearts.org
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE ALIA HAMADA FOREST Alia Hamada Forrest has been the Executive Director of Roslindale Village Main Street since 2016 and has lived in Boston since 2003. She has a wide-range of interests and work experience — she’s worked as a children’s book editor, as a barista and prep cook at a pie cafe, an AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow at 826 Boston, and most extensively for the last several years in Boston and Cambridge, as a non-profit program and volunteer manager. Alia enjoys building community with others and providing opportunities for folks of all ages to become engaged volunteers in their own neighborhoods. A first-generation American, Alia brings compassion to the immigrant experience and small business. Her father, Mohamed, immigrated from Egypt in the 1970s and worked his way up in the food service industry, starting as a dishwasher. A graduate of Emerson College, Alia has now spent over 18 years of her life in Boston -- this City is in her blood.
SUE FORTI I moved to Roslindale in 2005 with my husband Bob Houlihan. Someone dubbed me “the non-profit whisperer” because I enjoy helping non-profits organizationally. I was on the board of the Roslindale Community Center Council (and still oversee their financial operations). I was treasurer of RVMS and I am currently president of the Longfellow Area Neighborhood Association and treasurer of the Friends of the Boston Park Rangers Mounted Unit. I have advised several other non-profits along the way. I dabble as an artist and recently retired from all “paid” work. We love living in Roslindale and our second home in Key West.
KATHERINE FREIBURGER My name is Katie Freiburger. I am K-8 Art Teacher in Boston and live in Roslindale. I have twelve years of teaching experience with students in grades K-12. I absolutely love being an art teacher and sharing my passion for the arts with students of all ability levels. I have worked in Connecticut, Georgia, and Massachusetts. These opportunities have given me a breadth of experience working with students from diverse populations in both urban and suburban settings. Outside of my teaching experience, I have a passion for creating my own art such as drawing, painting, and cyanotypes. I also love spending time with my family and enjoying nature.
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE JANNA MARIA FRÖHLICH
I am a composer/arranger, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist on harp, keyboard, guitar, kalimba, and percussion, and perform solo or with my duo HeartSoulVoice Ensemble (including Joy Grimes, bowed strings). As well, I provide expressive psychotherapy through my business Metamorphosis Counseling (www.metamorphosiscounseling. info), as a board-certified music therapist and licensed mental health counselor, with clientele from ages 3 to 64. My music and therapy space in Roslindale is in the house we bought in 1992, when my family relocated from Jamaica Plain. My spouse and I raised two children in Roslindale and love this close-knit neighborhood. Until 10 years ago, I worked a day job as a programmer-analyst for the Harvard School of Public Health until going back to school for expressive therapies. I am a member of the Triad Choral Collective (www.triadchoir.org). You can find my music at www.soundcoud.com/janhapharp. Look us up at www.heartsoulvoice.com.
MARGUERITE MCDONAGH GALLAGHER I am Marguerite McDonagh Gallagher, and I was raised in Roslindale. I went away to college, lived in other Massachusetts towns, but returned to Roslindale 12 years ago with my husband John. Throughout 50 + years, my ONLY Dentist, has been Dr Richard Spagnuolo on South Street in Roslindale, always enjoying visits with him and hoping they are quick :). Roslindale has always been the place where I felt I belong. Professionally, I am a Nurse Case Manager and love working with geriatrics. I find joy in quilting.
MARY ELLEN GAMBON A Roslindale resident for 20 years, I am a Hyde Park native. I’ve had the pleasure to live, work and volunteer in Roslindale for 25 years. I first dedicated myself to RVMS, where I served for 14 years. I have volunteered with the Healthy Roslindale Coalition and the Medical Center Board, among others. As a journalist, I have worked at the HP/Roslindale Gazette, Parkway Transcript and The Bulletin. Roslindale is a vibrant, diverse gem.
Roslindale Open Mike http://www.roslindaleopenmike.org
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE KRISTA GOTTSCHLICH Krista Gottschlich was born in 1978 and grew up as a proud “Rosi Rat”. She has countless wonderful memories from the Arnold Arboretum, Adams Park, and Healy/Fallon fields. As an adult she was overjoyed to share these special places along with traditions such as the Roslindale Day Parade, Christmas tree lighting and summer concerts with her daughter, Kaylee. Face painting at community events along with singing an original Roslindale song at the Parade Talent show are two of Krista’s favorite highlights of her life in Roslindale! Although she moved in 2018, Rosi will always be home in her heart.
ELIZABETH GRAHAM-MEREDITH As a transplant to Massachusetts from the South, Roslindale is everything I never experienced growing up. We arrived in winter of 2009, and I immediately began volunteering with RVMS to meet people so my husband and I could make friends. Choosing to live here was mostly chance thanks to affordable housing, decent transportation and great businesses. Now, Roslindale is no longer just home, but my obsession and I want to convince everyone I love to move here. I sometimes call Roslindale, “Brigadoon”, because most don’t seem to know we exist, but once they find out, they never want to leave.
WENDI GRAY I am a 46-year-old Plein Air Painter working in various mediums currently painting and drawing everyday life in Roslindale. I moved here to the city three years ago and feel lucky to live in a community that engages with me everyday. I spend most of my days and nights on the streets, inside local businesses, and inside the homes of Roslindale painting from life. My neighborhood lifts me up and inspires me everyday to keep painting with their honks from their car, their waving hands, and nods of respect. Plein air painting in Roslindale is a gift because every time I go out for a paint session I am guaranteed to come home feeling more connected to the people and places of his wonderful city.
Roslindale Open Studios https://roslindaleopenstudios.org
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE MARY HARMAN We moved here after many years on a small farm in the Northwest corner of Rhode Island via a short stint on the South Coast of MA. After visiting on a farmer’s market day and figuring out how close the village was to the Arboretum, we drew a circle and began our search for a new home. I had a long career focusing on environmental and energy issues, from policy to communications, and was able to work part-time for many years so that I had time for art. I paint, draw and make prints and improv quilts, my current passion.
BETSY HINKLE Betsy Hinkle is a Boston-based violinist equally at home on the concert stage and serving her community through equity-based education and performances. She performs with many orchestras and chamber ensembles, namely the Boston Ballet Orchestra and the Orchestra of Emmanuel Music. Betsy founded the Roslindale-based non-profit musiConnects in 2007 to establish and support educational and artistic residences using an innovative chamber music model. From 2007 - 2017 she served as the organization’s Executive Artistic Director and now remains teaching, performing and designing curriculum. She lives in Roslindale with her husband and two children and loves cooking, baking and gardening.
MATHILDE HUTCHINGS Mathilde Hutchings (née Sabourin) is proud to call Roslindale home since 2014. She and husband Matthew moved there soon after getting married and have since added 2 beautiful girls to their family, Eléonore and Annabelle. Mathilde is Director of Partnerships for a healthcare NGO based in Madagascar. From 2019 to 2021, the Hutchings lived there to learn and breathe the work. What Mathilde loves most about Roslindale is the strong sense of community, which can be hard to find in a big city but is vibrant and well in Rozzie! And the many great restaurants, of course.
Friends of the Roslindale Library https://friendsofroslindalelibrary.org
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE CYNTHIA JOHNSON
I have been active and involved in the community for over 37 years. I joined the local tenant taskforce Archdale Tenants on the Move, Inc. (ATOM) in 1983. Advocates for the tenants, we were instrumental in improving housing conditions. As the Chair of ATOM and with the help of City Councilor Thomas M. Menino and State Representative John McDonough, we where instrumental in getting funds to reopen the Recreational Center which is now known as the BCYF Thomas Menino Community Center.
ANTHE KELLEY I am grateful for my deep roots in Boston and being able to contribute to our community. A lifelong student spanning ancient language, philosophy and history to cutting-edge physics, metaphysics and mystery, I am dedicated to inner growth, understanding and healing and hold space for others to devote themselves to the same loving (sometimes painful) but always liberating process. I believe that our greatest wisdom lies within and as we align with ourselves our outer world reflects that inner unity. As a Minister and Yoga teacher, from marriages to teacher training, I devote myself to this realm of exchange and service.
Roslindale Green and Clean https://www.roslindalegreenandclean.org
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE NIKKI RUOXI KONG My name is Nikki Ruoxi Kong and we made Roslindale our permanent home in 2017. I am a trained molecular biologist currently doing cancer research. Since the 2016 election, I have been very active with the Boston Ward 19 Democratic Committee and JP/Roslindale Progressives Chapters. I love volunteering in local and state-wide campaigns and advocating for better public transportation and other progressive issues. In my spare time, I enjoy playing the violin, mostly classical, but I harbor a secret ambition to jam with my Rozzie neighbors, among them an Irish trad fiddler and a harmonica player.
ALEXANDRIA (SANDY) KOURKOULIS I was born in the South End to Greek immigrants and moved to Roslindale in 1962. I have been here ever since. I attended Charles Sumner, Washington Irving and Roslindale High (class of 69). Thirty-five of those years (more than half my life) were spent at GRMDC. I have many good memories and some sad. Working there gave me the opportunity to meet some wonderful people and form some longtime friendships. My Greek heritage and second language allowed me to interact with many Greek neighbors and patients over the years - many of whom will always remain in my heart and fond memories. I also had the privilege of meeting hundreds of people (patients), many of whom will always be in my memories. It was an amazing experience. Roslindale will always be my home .
DAWN KRAMER Choreographer/Performer/Video Artist Professor Emerita in the Studio for Interrelated Media at MassArt, Dawn Kramer was a founder and artistic co-director of Dance Collective for thirty years, creating/performing in approximately seventy works. Honors include awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, French Ministry of Culture, LEF, La Napoule and Bogliasco Foundations and a Dance Champion Award. In site-specific performance videos and live performances in projection environments, connection is a pervasive theme in Dawn’s work that envisions the human being as a non-dominant, integrated part of Nature. http://dawnkramer.info
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE JUDITH KUNZE Judith Kunze did much of the writing for the Roslindale History Book the Boston 200 Neighborhood Series, and they organized the Roslindale Historical Society in 1973. In 1975, they organized a local parade celebrating the 200th anniversary of our country. Members dressed in colonial garb and marched with a fife and drum corps to the historic Walter Street Burial Ground, tracing part of the route traveled by militia duringn the Siege of Boston. The parade preceded the Annual Roslindale Day Parade. Judith continued organizing the parade and served as an officer and member of the Roslindale Historical Society for many years.
KRIS LIBERMAN I moved to Roslindale with my husband and our big fluffy cat, Miranda, in 1989. I had lived in the Boston area for 16 years by then and had never been to Roslindale - I cried at least once at the thought of moving to an unknown neighborhood. What a lucky move that was! I have made so many friends, enjoyed our shops and restaurants, gone to events like Savor the Square and Porchfest, walked miles in the Arboretum and around the neighborhood, and find myself unable to contemplate living anywhere else. I’m so happy to be a Rozzident!
COLLEEN LITTLE I currently reside in East Boston, am 65, and a grandmother of 5, retired from a career of sorts, working with Federal Student Loans. I grew up mostly in Jamaica Plain, attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School, and then U/Mass/Boston. I lived in Roslindale from 1984 to 2004. My two children, Katie and Brendan, attended kindergarten at the Charles Sumner School, then on to Sacred Heart, and Boston Latin School for Katie, and Nativity Prep School for Brendan (middle school). Roslindale was home and we loved it. And as a woman alone, working full time, and raising two children, my neighbors and neighborhood were deeply important to me. Most of my memories of Roslindale are wonderful, some are sad, and lots are belly shaking hilarious (many of these involve the Foley Family). But most of all, it’s the people, drawn in vivid frames of time, that I will carry with me always.
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE BARBARA J. LOTTERO, R.N., M.S.
(Former Executive Director, Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center 1980-2017) I grew up in Roslindale and have had a long history with this wonderful community. In 1980, I became the Nurse Manager at Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center. Then when I became the Executive Director, I began the long quest to build a new and bigger health center to better serve the primary health care needs of the community. This became my most important professional goal/achievement. I will always hold dear the relationships I made over 40 years with Roslindale Village Main Street and community leaders. Together, we helped improve the “health” of the community. I am forever grateful.
CHARIS LOVELAND Charis Loveland moved to Roslindale in 2014 after living for a decade in Jamaica Plain. She’s the mother of an amazing, precocious 11-year-old daughter, Lucinda. Charis works at Amazon Web Services as a business development manager on the cloud intelligence team specializing in artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML). She has a decade and a half of experience in product management, AI, data analytics, new product introduction, file and hardware storage, and software development. After launching a crowdsourcing platform for Azure ML at Microsoft, Charis founded Rue La La’s data science team where she created and executed a roadmap and strategy to create personalized experiences and segment customers. Charis co-founded an ML startup and has taught several business courses at General Assembly as well as online courses about data science at MIT, Dartmouth, and Columbia. Charis serves as a coding instructor, mentor, and advocate for early STEM education and volunteers for several nonprofits that help promote greater diversity in the technology industry.
ALTA MACDONALD I have lived in Roslindale Village for two years. I am 86 years old and love that I can walk to so much that I enjoy. Before Covid it was even better! I am a retired clinical social worker who worked in the Boston area of over 50 years. In retirement I designed jewelry for a time. At present I am promoting myself as a writer about to be published in October. That piece is all about my Roslindale neighborhood.
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE BERNA MANN Berna arrived in Roslindale in 1987 from Ireland. She began her career at her beloved Sacred Heart School where she taught for 11 years. An active member of Sacred Heart Parish, she served on the Parish Council and still serves as a lector. Berna has strong ties to the Hispanic community and was honored to donate a kidney to a fellow parishioner in 2006. She believes in supporting local businesses and is a frequent visitor to the square. Berna maintains strong ties to her native Limerick where she helps out in her brother David’s hospitality business. Her mother Mary is 95 years young.
GENA MAVULI Gena Mavuli is a business owner and artist on a journey. With a professional background that ranges from working in the Amazon of Peru & Bolivia, to food-systems and non-profit leadership. In 2020 Gena began a new adventure as a business owner in Roslindale, opening Create: Art in Community. Her vision is just that, to build community through artistic experiences, to make exploring the arts an easy “yes” for community members who may have never explored the arts before. She has found that, every day, she is in love with being a part of the Roslindale business and arts community as she works towards creating a jewel in the village. Gena holds a BA from UMass Amherst, and an MA from the Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She sits on the Board of musiConnects, based in Roslindale Village and is an active parent in Boston Public Schools.
KATHLEEN “KATHY” MCCABE Kathy McCabe was the first Executive Director of Roslindale Village Main Street (1985-1990). Kathy is a professional planner and economic development specialist. Kathy accepted the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Honor Award for RVMS, the first Main Street organization so honored. Kathy was appointed to Boston Landmarks Commission in the 1990s. Kathy has been active in social justice issues serving on the national board of National LGBTQ Task Force. She is a past president of MA Economic Development Council. Kathy serves on the boards of Longfellow Area Neighborhood Association, New Brook Farm, MA Chapter American Planning Association, and Northeast Economic Development Association.
Keep Roslindale Quirky https://www.facebook.com/groups/KeepRoslindaleQuirky
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE MARY MCCUSKER
Mary McCusker has lived in Roslindale for over 40 years and has been drawing and painting the neighborhood she calls home for most of that time. She’s been involved in the Roslindale art community since its very early days. She and artist friend, Helen Hummel, co-founded the Greater Roslindale Arts Association in 1995 which brought together Roslindale artists, musicians, writers and dancers and led to many art shows, performances and friendships among the wonderful creative people of our community. Mary continues to exhibit in local solo and group shows, takes part in Roslindale Open Studios and is part of the Rozzie Reads Poetry committee. A current project: Ashfield Street Pop-up Gallery - exhibiting one artwork a day on an easel in her front yard to help us get to the other side of the pandemic.
LISA MODECKER Lisa has been a Roslindale resident since 1987 and, with her husband, raised their 3 kids here. In the family law practice she started here more than 20 years ago, Lisa has provided legal representation to countless children and families as well as to immigrants. Lisa is proud to have worked with another local leader, the late Judie Leon, on the Board of Trade, where they both served as President, as honorary “Mayor of Roslindale” and on many other community initiatives including the Philbrick and Bates schools’ councils, ABCD Board of Directors and Roslindale Community Refrigerator.
ANN MURPHY She is a long-time resident of Hewlett Street and worked as a probation officer for the Commonwealth for many years. Ann is the widow of “Irish Bob Murphy”, a championship boxer who passed away in a tragic accident in the early 60’s and Ann raised two wonderful daughters. Ann is a staunch democrat and is the “Grande dame” of Boston/MA politics, especially in the heyday of Kevin White, Frank Bellotti, Joe DeNucci, etc. Even now as a late octogenarian, Ann is still very active in politics.
Roslindale Cares https://www.roslindalecares.com
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE KATHLEEN NOPPER Kathleen Nopper is a Family Nurse Practitioner whose focus is in the Health and Wellness of her community as seen in her Community Health Assessment of Roslindale. Kathleen has been active in her church both Sacred Heart and St Paul’s in Cambridge as a Eucharistic Minister, in Bible Studies, Prayer groups, youth involvement, teaching Confirmation classes and ongoing Adult Education, Parish Health Ministry and the importance of Spiritual Direction. Kathleen has hosted her favorite Scottish Band and Swing Music sets/dancing for the Roslindale Porchfest. As a local choir member, she has performed at local nursing homes and other venues.
REBECCA NORVILLE Rebecca Norville (Williams), 34, She/Her All my forks in the road have led me back to Roslindale! Lucky enough to be raising my baby in the home I was raised in due to my Roslindale celeb parents working so hard to make this a better place to be. I am a Boston Public School Special Education Teacher and feel honored to have the role. I have worked in the behavior/education field for 5 years and prior to that was a fitness fanatic. Mental health has always been my passion. End the stigma, save lives!
CAROL O’CONNOR Carol A. O’Connor is a Roslindale home owner; she is an energetic and knowledgeable fitness instructor and personal trainer. She is a graduate of Boston Latin School, and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in History and her Masters in Education, both from Boston College. Carol planned and managed a number of fundraisers, such as A Taste of Roslindale, Taste Dedham, Taste of Wellesley and other local events. Carol enjoys food, fashion and fitness.
Casserly House https://www.casserlyhouse.org
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE KIM O’CONNELL
Kim O’Connell started the Dale street Crime Watch when the neighborhood experienced a sudden rise in criminal activity. The group achieved immediate success due to increased citizen participation and a successful working relationship with police. She then joined Healthy Roslindale Coalition’s efforts to increase public safety throughout Roslindale and served as an essential volunteer in the Rossie Reps Peer Leadership and Youth Development Program. Kim participated in special events and helped strengthen neighborhood bonds through participation in health education programs, neighborhood clean-ups, and special events to promote the business community.
CAROL O’NEIL (Former Medical Director and Family Physician of the Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center 1979-2015) For me as a family physician/PCP, being part of a community is an important aspect of taking care of the health of the residents. Roslindale’s residents are diverse. I loved serving them, many of them older and living alone. In listening to their stories and helping them live healthier lives, I felt part of Roslindale. I wouldn’t hesitate to make house calls, help rescue pets, deliver urgent medications paperwork/forms, whatever was needed to make their lives easier. Working there for 36 years, I enjoyed all aspects of the community; restaurants, art, shops, Adams Park, etc. It was totally gratifying.
MARIE CLIFFORD PACE Roslindale and Rialto Let’s go back in time…..to Roslindale Square….about 1970. If you didn’t have much money but you wanted to go on a date to the movies, you could head to the Rialto Theatre in Roslindale Square. (Ticket prices, $1.50, I think) That’s where you would find me behind the candy counter. With buttered popcorn at $.25, my hands and the floor beneath were always sticky. I can’t say it was a dream job, but I was grateful for the $1.25 an hour CASH paycheck. Didn’t realize then, how walking to work is a marvelous convenience.
City of Boston Mayor’s Liaison to Roslindale 617-635-3307 https://www.facebook.com/ons.roslindale.3
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE KIMBERLY PATCH
Kimberly Patch is an interface expert, writer, editor, and musician who’s lived in Roslindale since 1994. She plays fiddle in local bands Bookmatch Duo, Creek River String Band and Louder Than Milk. Kim cofounded the Border-Crossing Music Mashup series and is involved with sustainability group GreeningRozzie and the Rozzie Bound co-op bookstore. Kim architected a system for interactive transcripts as lead researcher for Duke University’s Rutherfurd Living History program and helped PBS Frontline build a similar system. She’s also an invited expert for the World Wide Web Consortium. She’s written for many publications including AP, Reuters, the Boston Globe, and Technology Review.
COURTNEY PONG Courtney became a New Englander when she moved to Boston in 2016 to own CSz Boston and produce ComedySportz, the widest-reaching and longest-running competitive improv show in the nation. In May 2018 she opened The Rozzie Square Theater, rooting Roslindale as the official home for ComedySportz in Boston. The Rozzie Square Theater was opened with the intention of bringing entertainment, improv education, and laughter to areas she felt were overlooked as destinations, while believing that everyone is deserving of the community-strengthening and collaborative benefits an improv theater has to offer a neighborhood. The theater is the only brick-and-mortar improv club in Boston owned by a Woman and Asian American.
JAIME PULLEN Jaime Pullen is a strategic planning consultant who works with public policy advocates, community organizations, and progressive grantmakers. Past volunteer projects in Roslindale include spending many happy hours over a five-year period building up the RVMS Farmers Market. As a former board member of Roslindale Village Main Street, she fully embraces the lifestyle of eat, shop, and play locally! More recently, Jaime has been active with Roslindale IS for Everyone (RISE) focusing on organizing wide support for immigrant rights. She continues to promote the use of public spaces for fun, such as the Music Mashup concerts in Adams Park.
Walk Up Roslindale https://walkuproslindale.org/weblog
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE KELLY RANSOM Kelly Ransom called Roslindale home for 6 years, but she is originally from Jamaica Plain where she lives now. She continues to serve the Roslindale community through volunteering because she is so grateful for the neighborhood embracing her. Kelly is an event & communications specialist with over 15 years of experience in coordinating large-scale public events, marketing, and public affairs. She’s passionately involved with local politics but especially District 6. Kelly was proud to call Roslindale home because it is a welcoming community for LGBTQIA+, Black, Indigenous, Asian, and People of Color and a neighborhood where all are welcome and Black Lives Matter. She hopes to possibly own a home in Roslindale one day if the neighborhood ever becomes accessible for those making a middle-income to do so.
SISTER GAIL RIPLEY In 1934, the Sisters of St Joseph arrived in Roslindale, to open Sacred Heart School. In 1985, Sister Gail Ripley arrived at Sacred Heart School as principal remaining there for 22 years. Sister Gail’s commitment to excellence in Christian education and innovative programming gave rise to an alternative Christian values education for hundreds of children from diverse ethnic, social and religious backgrounds, and yes, to their families as well. Sacred Heart School reflects the diversity of our city and prepares students to work together, creating a better community and a better world.
ISHITA SHARMA Ishita Sharma serves as a mirror mentor and facilitator to contemporary visionaries and seekers who wish to better the world, starting with themselves. Clients come to her to work through their biggest challenges and deepest wounds while held in their perfect wholeness. Her mission is to realize a world that lives, loves and leads from awakened awareness. Drawing on her unique ability to see the bigger picture and attune to her clients’ nervous systems, she guides inner confusion and disharmony into clarity and coherence.
Boston Nature Center https://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/boston-nature-center
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE LYASYA SINKOVSKI Born in Moscow, Russia, Lyasya moved to USA in 2006. She enjoyed drawing as a child but considered art a hobby. She made a successful career in marketing. After a prolonged illness and death of her spouse, Lyasya struggled with depression. She started drawing again; it became her anchor to reality – and a way to make others smile. Lyasya is a practicing artist and art instructor. An admirer of classical art and old masters realism, she is getting formal atelier training as a scholarship student at the Academy of Realist Art, Boston. Lyasya loves Roslindale and never misses local Open Studios.
CATHY SLADE Cathy Slade was a Board Member of Roslindale Village Main Street and organized special events to promote the revitalization of Roslindale Village. As Director of the Healthy Roslindale Coalition, she developed a network of residents, agencies, government and youth to identify and meet community needs. Teens in the coalition’s Rossie Reps Youth Council developed leadership skills through comprehensive training were an integral part of all Coalition activities. Cathy is the President of the Roslindale Historical Society, and was a feature writer for the HeartBeats community newspaper.
HILARY SULLIVAN Hilary Sullivan moved to Roslindale in 2010 and has been an active and engaged resident ever since. While working professionally in the field of community engagement and deeply valuing the importance of community relationships, Hilary has been committed to ensuring Roslindale is a vibrant, healthy and welcoming community. She makes efforts to know her neighbors, shop and dine locally, and promote Roslindale as a unique and important corner of the city. Hilary has served on the board of Roslindale Village Main Street for many years and is currently serving on the board of the Longfellow Area Neighborhood Association.
RISE (Roslindale is For Everyone) https://www.roslindalewetlands.org
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE MARIA TERMINI Maria Termini is an artist, musician, author, activist and more. Adventure, beauty, justice and wonder are some of the many threads weaving the rich tapestry of her life. Her joyful artworks are widely exhibited and are in the many collections as well as the Boston Public Library and the Fogg Museum. Her books: Solitude and Splendor: Living in the Schoolhouse, The Artist and the Spy, Driving Curiosity and Through the Mountains to the Stars are the stories of her many adventures. She is also a public speaker and believes strongly in the power of words to inspire and entertain.
DONNA TESSARI “MS. DONNA” I worked for the US Postal Service for thirty-two years and was very lucky to spend the final twelve at the Roslindale branch. I was welcomed into the larger community of artists, musicians, foodies, gardeners, and political activists. This encouraged me to pursue a dormant artistic yearning. With the help of the Roslindale Arts Alliance and It’s All About Arts, I’ve been fortunate to exhibit at several prestigious places: Mass. Convention Center; BNN-TV Art Gallery (twice); The Square Root; and upcoming this summer @ Highfield Hall Estate in Falmouth.
ANNE TURLEY Ann grew up in Roslindale and lives there with her husband, Robert Smith. She studied art at Emmanuel College and the Museum School. For many years Ann participated in Roslindale and Jamaica Plain Open Studios and has shown her award-winning work at juried exhibits at Cambridge, Concord, Menino, and Plymouth Art Centers. Her work is in the collection of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Ann designed and painted over 80 mural commissions in public buildings, residences and retail spaces. Graphic and web design has been another profession with clients that include John Hancock, Kurzweil Technologies, Harvard Business and Harvard Medical Schools.
Roslindale Wetlands Task Force https://www.roslindalewetlands.org
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE MARIA CECILIA VALENCIA Maria Cecilia Valencia, Resident and Business Owner in Roslindale for over 20 years. “I am originally from Colombia, S.A., the oldest of 10 children of which several of them are entrepreneurs, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. I moved to Roslindale in 1993 after living in Brookline, MA for 20+ years. I bought a house in 1998 and opened Solera a Shrine to Wine in 2000. I have also worked as a Legal and Immigration Interpreter for the courts in MA since 1993. I definitely wanted to create a fun place for wine lovers of all types, from no knowledge of it to connoisseurs with great & reasonably priced wines and beers. I also wanted to contribute to the Renaissance/Development of the Roslindale Square Business Center”
NINA VANSUCH I was born in Roslindale in 1952. As an artist and musician, I have created murals and sculptures, and worked in singing and comedy. In 1977, opening for Bonnie Raitt, performing at the National Women’s Music Festival, and auditioning for SNL (to round #3!) were highlights of my early career. In 1999, I was a Cabaret Fellow at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. My work with the group “At the Movies” (Scullers, Cabaretfest, Arci’s NYC et al) earned an IRNE award in 2003. Non-profit work-most recently with the Sumner Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston-was my bread and butter for 45+ years. I am a mother, wife, friend, gardener, writer. I am just getting started!
ANASTASIA VASSOS I have lived in Roslindale since 1996. Our hilltop neighborhood has changed over the years, and its bittersweet to see neighbors come and go. I love my view of Boston’s skyline from my back deck. As a long-distance cyclist I have represented Roslindale for 15 years in the Pan-Mass Challenge. I have raised over $78,000 for stem cell research at Dana Farber. I work as a poet. I have led poetry workshops in Roslindale; my work has been published in many online and print journals. I am a poetry reader for Lily Poetry Review. I am fluent in three languages.
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE SHERYL WHITE
A long-time Roslindale resident, I am on the board of Roslindale Green & Clean (RGC), a nonprofit established for green space advocacy. I have steered three successful Roslindale Garden Tours and worked on RGC community initiatives. I am an artist and published writer including The Boston Globe article “Our First Home” describing my own home, which abuts Peters Hill, Roslindale’s section of the Arnold Arboretum. A staff member at the Arboretum, I brought the first free, outdoor theater productions to the Arboretum, and as curator of Arboretum exhibitions, I have shown and promoted numerous New England artists.
JANICE WILLIAMS I am a retired artist and marketing professional who has lived in Roslindale since 1993. I have been actively involved in Roslindale Village Main Street (Volunteer, Board Member, Executive Director). With my husband Glenn Williams: created Roslindale Arts Alliance that started Roslindale Open Studios and now manages Roslindale Porchfest; It’s All About Arts TV show that was produced and broadcast for 21 years on BNN Media and we raise money for youth art scholarships.
RACHEL ZALOCHA We looked at houses in Rossie in Spring 2000 and witnessed boarded up buildings with for lease signs. Roslindale had soul and was on the brink of remastering itself. Kevin wasn’t sure, but I knew. Our first community event: a “Welcome” cocktail party at the Bistro which was our foray into the community. Now we organize our annual block party and participate in our church here. Over the years we’ve participated in Roslindale community events and have loved the library and community center for our kids. Eighteen years later, my connections continue to deepen. I have never regretted living in Roslindale.
Roslindale Food Pantry http://roscon.org/food-pantry
Some Roslindale Womxn We Admire but Who Sadly Are No Longer With Us
Helen Goetz was the founder of the Roslindale Historical Society, which was founded in 1973 as part of the City of Boston prelude to the 1976 celebration of the 200th Anniversary of our country. Helen was an avid collector of memorabilia depicting what life was like in Roslindale’s past. She gathered and submitted a plethora of artifacts to the Society’s collection. She organized the first Roslindale Parade in honor of the founding of our country. A colonial militia group led Society members dressed in colonial garb from Adam’s Park to the Walter Street Burial, the site of the Siege of Boston in 1775.
Marilyn LaRosa, a Roslindale, then West Roxbury resident was a successful realtor and community benefactor. She began LaRosa Real Estate in Roslindale, later moving to West Roxbury. Both neighborhoods were the recipients of her extraordinary generosity of time and resources. Marilyn served as an officer for many years in the Roslindale Board of Trade, The Parkway Rotary Club and the West Roxbury Business and Professional Association. Her leadership and involvement in the community events and fundraisers were extraordinary. Her financial contributions to local non- profits were prolific. Upon her death, she was memorialized with the Marilyn LaRosa Memorial Rotary Club Scholarship Fund.
Judith Leon (Assaf)
Judie Leon was probably best known for her Roslindale travel agency, Travel by Judie. For over 30 years Travel by Judie, a fixture in the Square, helped families plan vacations, honeymooners plan cruises and travelers of all types fly to the four corners of the globe. Judie’s entrepreneurial spirit came through in all she did, as one of the first woman-owned businesses, the first woman president of the Roslindale Board of Trade, first woman in the Roslindale/West Roxbury Kiwanis, and first woman named honorary “Mayor” of Roslindale. Judie spoke her mind and always found a “seat at the table” even in male-dominated arenas of the time. Judie Leon also had a big heart, always helping out at the Area E-5 Police station Halloween events, fund raising for the Roslindale Food Pantry, bell ringing at Christmas time, and famously, as Mrs. Claus every year at ABCD South Side Head Start, her favorite role. Her shop was a second home to many adults from a local group home where she would find them a “job” to do, get them a coffee or just be a friendly ear when they would stop by. She is greatly missed.
Marna Persechini hailed from Lubek, Texas and was a long-time activist in numerous Roslindale Community Organizations. Most notably she volunteered and worked for Roslindale Village Main Street. She organized and ran the Roslindale Village Farmers Market – the first one in Boston. She volunteered at just about every activity conducted by RVMS, Healthy Roslindale and the Board of Trade. There were community festivals, tree lightings, egg hunts, dinners, fundraisers and more. Marna was active with the Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center, and could be seen daily in Roslindale Village. She earned a special nickname of the Mayor of Roslindale.
Nina Schaefer was involved in many aspects of life in Roslindale that improved the community tremendously. She was the driving force behind the eight-year effort to develop the former Roslindale High School into 83 units of elderly Housing. Nina was a founding member of Roslindale Village Main Street, and remained active for years as a board member and volunteer. She served on the Roslindale Day Parade Committee and was the Grand Marshal in 1987. The Nina Schaefer Youth Award was instituted by the Parade Committee in recognition of her advocacy for youth advancement, public education and community revitalization.
WOMXN of ROSLINDALE CAITLIN ERWIN
Raised in Roslindale in the same house as my mom, Mary Erwin; I attended Sacred Heart School/Church where “service to the dear neighbor and keeping kindness in your heart” are important parts of this community and something that makes it special. These lessons helped to shape my work as a case manager. I am reminded of how a small act of being a voice on the phone; holding someone’s hand on a difficult day; or helping to reach a goal, can be transformative and allow one to feel they are not alone. Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
MARY ERWIN I have spent over 70 years living, working and volunteering in Roslindale especially at Sacred Heart Church and Sacred Heart School. I worked as lunch staff for 20 years. I loved cooking for the children and seeing them as they grew each year. I also was a Eucharistic Minister for 33 years. I loved bringing Communion to Josephine Falcione every week. Our talks were very inspiring. I made many friends volunteering at the church and school and have remained close to them. Roslindale was a wonderful place to grow up and I hope to have many more years here.
MORE WOMXN OF ROSLINDALE
A compilation of brief bios and photos by womxn of Roslindale, MA