Albert D. Rossin & Sandra (Howells) Rossin

Albert David Rossin, most recently living in Newton, Massachusetts, died on April 7, 2020. He was Dave from the beginning, born on May 5, 1931 in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, the only son of Freda (Hershenow) and Maurice Rossin. Dave graduated with a BS in Applied and Engineering Physics from Cornell University in 1954. His studies took him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned a masters in nuclear engineering in 1955, to Northwestern University for a MBA in 1963; and to Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University) for a Ph. D. in metallurgy in 1966. He spent the early years of his career in research at Argonne National Laboratory and joined the American Nuclear Society in 1955. He became an ANS Fellow and later served as the society’s President (1992-1993).

On July 16, 1966, he married Sandra Lee Howells in Cleveland.

Sandra Howells Rossin, most recently living in Newton, Massachusetts, died on April 10, 2020. She was born on August 4, 1937 in Cleveland, Ohio, the only child of Thelma (Sherman) and James Howells. Sandy attended Kent State and then entered St. Luke’s School of Nursing in Cleveland. After graduation, she worked at St. Luke’s Hospital and loved emergency room nursing most of all. Sandy continued her nursing studies at the Ohio State University, graduating with a BSN in 1963.

She met Dave Rossin at a mixer at Case and married him on July 16, 1966 – just after Dave completed his PhD. They soon departed on a magical six week honeymoon/business trip to Africa and Egypt – making memories and recording movies that they would one day share with their daughters and many others.

Dave and Sandy started their married life in Chicago, Illinois on the 20th floor. Dave worked with Commonwealth Edison Company for almost ten years. Sandy taught medical terminology and ran her own business. After having daughters Laura Ann and Elizabeth Lynn, they moved their family to Naperville, Illinois. The family enjoyed friends and neighbors in their large back yard, at the bandstand, at the congregational church, at school functions, at fields and parks, at home and on the road. Sandy was an active member of the American Association of University Women, serving as president of the local chapter among other roles. Dave and Sandy were involved with their alumni associations and almost never missed a Cornell Reunion – or any other reunion if possible. They were always ready to welcome a visitor, a traveler, and set another place at the table. Dave had an infamous cheese fondue recipe and Sandy made an amazing spaghetti sauce that could serve thousands.

In 1981, Dave and Sandy moved their family to Los Altos Hills, California where they stayed for 20 years. Dave was Director of the Nuclear Safety Analysis Center at the Electrical Power Research Institute for five years, then he was appointed by President Reagan as Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy at the US Department of Energy. After he departed DOE in 1987, Dave started Rossin & Associates and worked as a consultant while drafting the broad strokes of a book about the Carter administration’s decisions on spent fuel reprocessing. He served on the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Review Committee and was a Center Affiliated Scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. While in California, they remained active with alumni associations and among other pursuits, Sandy worked at the local high school where she was recognized as “mom” by her daughters’ friends who treasured her excellent hugs, listening ear and Triple Chocolate Cake.

At a certain point, it was clear that these Midwesterners were ready to retire to Florida. They found a (first) house in University Park (UP), a community in Bradenton, near Sarasota. Dave and Sandy joined the UP Country Club, became active with the Cornell Alumni Club of Sarasota (Hospitality Committee of course), and were active members and regularly hosted visitors at the Ringling Museum. Dave golfed more than Sandy did. They bought a bigger house in the community when the grandchildren started to come along. Sandy sang with the UP “Park Larks” and served as Membership Chair with the UP Women’s Club. Dave occasionally spoke about nuclear power and often discussed baseball – including attending minor league and spring training games. While both remained lifelong Cleveland Indians fans, Dave enthusiastically followed sports teams wherever they were living. Over their 17 years at University Park, they rarely missed Friday evening at the Club, where they enjoyed gathering with friends and neighbors. Sandy and Dave made many new friends, reconnected with longtime friends, and travelled nearby and abroad.

Sandy and Dave have five grandchildren in Massachusetts and California. They loved attending games and shows and holiday gatherings from coast to coast. They are predeceased by their daughter Liz Laats (2015). Liz’s husband Andy and grandkids Margo, Gwen and Dru live in Encinitas California. Daughter Laura Van Zandt lives in Wellesley Massachusetts with husband Peter and grandkids Jenny and Will.

In October 2018, Sandy and Dave moved to Needham Massachusetts to be closer to Laura. They enjoyed the change of seasons and made friends at One Wingate Way; then later resided at The Falls at Cordingly Dam in Newton Massachusetts.

Due to the coronavirus, a memorial will be scheduled at a later date at a location to be determined. There will be talking and sharing photos, music and laughing, eating and drinking, and lots of hugging, just as Sandy and Dave would want it.

Until then, consider honoring their memory by supporting the scientists and healthcare professionals who are working every day to fight this and other diseases, ensure equity and access to care, and create solutions to our ever increasing energy needs.


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24 Condolences

  1. Jerry Greenblatt on April 17, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    Sandy and Dave ere our friends and neighbors on Eaton Court
    in University Park, Florida.
    We enjoyed their company, even though we moved away in 2012.

    I personally enjoyed competing with Dave on the golf course and his son in law at our Member Guest Tournaments.

    Our sincerest condolences.

    Susan and Jerry Greenblatt

  2. Jan Hoffman Doench on April 17, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Sandy and Dave have been good friends of ours for many years. Sandy and I worked on the UPCC Board together and we enjoyed many fun times together. We met with them weekly at the Varsity Club and spent many evenings talking about when Dave was going to finish his “Damn” Book as Sandy liked to call it! Dave was extremely encouraging to me as I worked on my doctorate. He motivated me to keep going. One weekend we went to the Circus with Sandy and Dave. They enjoyed the Key Chorale so much and were anxious for us to hear them perform at the Circus. We certainly did enjoy them and saw why they were so enthusiastic about them. I have missed them considerably since they left UPCC and I loved our time together. Rest in peace, Sandy and Dave

  3. Connie Braceland on April 18, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    Dear Laura,

    I see now, where you get your high intelligence, your sense of volunteering, your need to help others by doing the right thing, and your love of sports!
    Your parents sound like wonderful, fun loving people, and I know they were lucky to have you and your family in their lives, especially recently.
    With deepest sympathy,
    Connie & Timothy Braceland

  4. David Brown on April 18, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    Dear Laura.
    It’s been a very, very long time, but I heard the sad news through old California connections. I have so many fond memories of time spent with your family and friends in your home in Los Altos. And your mom’s chocolate cake! Your parents were such warm and generous people. With my deepest sympathy. David Brown

  5. Jay and Beckie Suverkrup on April 18, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    Dear Laura,
    I knew Sandy better than Dave, only because she was one of the first friendly faces that I met when Jay and I moved to The Park 22 yrs. ago. Our common thread was our backgrounds in nursing and of course the Nine Hole Golf league! They became loyal patients of Jays as well. A funny story to share was our 1st Fourth of July. UPCC chartered a bus down to Siesta Key and directions were given before disembarking stating the bus would leave at 10:30…….we’re all waiting…..waiting an HOUR! Here come your folks with a couple others who had skipped and found a pub to enjoy!! They ALWAYS found the fun in every activity. Also, wanted to mention my respect for the years of diligent work Sandy did for our Women’s Club. I could always count on her to follow through and do the job right!
    I can only imagine the wonderful traits that you and their grandchildren possess. We miss them

  6. John and Kathy Bondur on April 18, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    Part of the joy of living in University Park is meeting people whose life experiences enrich your own life. Passages describing our times with Dave and Sandy will be a highlight in another yet to be completed book!

    Spending time with the Rossins always included hugs, laughter, swapping tales, and learning from one another’s exploits. For Dave and John baseball was a life-long passion, and spending time watching, analyzing, and recalling the good old days of the sport was magic. As Rays season ticket holders we went to a lot of games each year, but when Kathy decided she needed a night off Dave was always ready to join John for a trek to the Trop. Two guys reminiscing about the national pastime was treasured time.

    We particularly enjoyed the four of us dining at Sam Snead’s (one of Dave’s favorites), being part of the audience for a group of talented folks who read plays to the audience, discussing politics, having a few assorted libations, and telling bad jokes. Good friends can do that with ease.

    Our lives are better for having known and loved the Rossins, and may they rest in peace.

  7. Sandra King on April 19, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Dear Laura
    It will be a joy to be able to hug and squeeze you with love as we honor your parents. Our sincerest condolences. Sandra King and Bob Tunis

  8. Janice Hawkins on April 19, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Dear Laura,
    Sandy and I would spend hours discussing nurse things at the Varsity. It would not take us long to digress to other topics, usually laughing as we did. Sandy always put the twinkle in those blue eyes of Dave. Dave loved all things in life, but mostly Sandy and you! I miss them and how they were so much a part of our community. Rest in peace, Dave and Sandy.

  9. Pauline Johnson Robertson on April 22, 2020 at 1:27 am

    Dear Laura, As u know, Sandy was my dear friend since 7th grade. We always had so much fun tog and her parents and mine were both active in the church and of course Sandy and I were also active with the youth group.
    Our wonderful trip to the east coast after college was fabulous and included seeing “Camelot “ in NYC and a dinner at Sardi’s.
    Of course the best part was when u all moved to Calif and the 2couples went to ALl the BIG GAMES, traveled together and just had so much fun always. EVERYONE loved them both and they were a hit at all our parties. Over the years we connected thru all the highs and lows in our lives right up to the recent times.
    To say I will miss having Sandy in my life is an understatement. I send to you and your family my deepest condolences along with hugs and love,

  10. Janice Button Shafer on April 24, 2020 at 1:05 am

    Dave and I met in our freshman year at Cornell, as classmates in the School of Engineering Physics at Cornell. We shared many things during the five-year program, from 1949 to 1954; that included some wonderful parties, especially at his fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau. We kept in touch over the years, while Dave developed his outstanding career in nuclear reactors and I pursued research in experimental nuclear and particle physics. Before and after my 1962 marriage, I had many wonderful visits with Dave, and then Sandy and Dave – in Chicago, Naperville, and Los Altos Hills. Along with my (mathematician) husband John, I had fascinating discussions with Dave and Sandy, often alongside their swimming pool in their Los Altos home. I learned about Dave’s activities at Argonne National Lab, at Electric Power Research Institute near Palo Alto, and his involvement with the Department of Energy (DOE). In the early and mid-1950s I had done research in neutron physics (at Oak Ridge and in Germany); and I was much interested in learning from Dave about the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, just as he was undergoing Senate confirmation for Assistant Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Energy. At my invitation, Dave gave a well-received colloquium talk about his DOE experiences for the UMass Physics Department. Our children became acquainted in the summer of 1983, when my young twin sons Charles (a cancer survivor) and John had some happy hours playing with Laura and Liz when we were in the Berkeley area and visited the Rossin family. My career and my husband’s had taken us from California to Amherst, MA, in the late 1960s; but we stayed in touch with Dave and Sandy (and were delighted to participate as guests in Laura and Peter’s wedding at Cornell!). Both of them joined us in Amherst, MA, for our daughter Christina’s wedding in 1993; they were on their way to see Laura and family in Wellesley. When John and I moved back to Berkeley in the late 1990s, I had hoped to see more of Dave and Sandy… but then they moved to Florida! We looked forward to seeing them at Cornell reunions, occasionally with daughter Laura. Over the years we exchanged holiday greetings by post and then email; and I enjoyed seeing Rossin family pictures and reading about family travels. I regretted missing the big celebration of Dave’s 80th birthday in April of 2010, as my husband had died in January of 2010, and I was settling into a senior residence complex in Pasadena, to be near my daughter and two grandchildren. I was unaware that Sandy and Dave had moved up to Needham, MA – the Boston suburb where my twin sister and I grew up, and later resided as young adults. Wish I could have visited!
    I was shocked to hear last week that Dave and Sandy are both gone, through a phone call from Dave’s and my Cornell classmate Dick Halberstadt. I had been deeply saddened that they and Laura, and especially Andy and children, lost Liz in late 2018. And now Laura and her family are alone, without the Rossin grandparents. It was good to hear that Laura could comfort each of her parents at the end. Thank you, Laura, for the lovely tribute and the obituary link that you sent through Dick Halberstadt.
    With love, Janice (Button Shafer)

  11. Karin Raye on April 24, 2020 at 11:51 am

    Laura –

    This was a beautiful piece to honor your parents and while I did not know them, I see their clear influence on you and how you navigate the world – loving family and friends, using your sharp analytical mind to do good in the world and showing deep and meaningful compassion to those who need it most. They must have been so very proud of you. My heartfelt condolences and much love.

  12. Stephanie Stroh Gilbert on April 27, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Hi Laura,
    I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of your parents! Such a difficult time for you. I know they will be happy to be reunited with Liz. May they all be guardian angles for you and your family.
    I know my folks always had a great time with yours in Los Altos. I remember your mom and dad as being so fun and festive. I have clear memories of your mom laughing a lot when with her new comer friends. She always had a great attitude and she was so friendly to all! Your dad was also a happy guy and he had a lot a friends. He was also always laughing be he enjoyed intelligent conversations. They always were so involved with you and Liz and it was obvious they loved you dearly. I am thinking of you during this difficult time.

  13. Mary Ann Kenady Schatz on April 28, 2020 at 6:12 am

    Dear Laura & family,

    My sincere sympathy to you all on the death of our good friends, Dave & Sandy. How sad to lose them to this terrible virus. At least you know they lived long and happy lives. They were so proud of all of you.

    Bill & I always enjoyed your parents company at lots of fun events in Los Altos. I met your Mom on the high school tennis court when we first moved to Los Altos in 1982, and our good times continued from there to newcomer luncheons, bridge games, dinner parties, trips to Alaska, Washington and Florida. Your Mom was a good cook for crowds and had such a great sense of humor. Your Dad kept us entertained with tales of his book and frustrations with the newfangled computer he was composing it on. I remember the day a whole chapter just disappeared. We visited Dave and Sandy both at Captiva & University Park where they showed us special places they had enjoyed with you and Liz and your families for many years.

    You were absolutely right to bring your parents to live near you when they needed help these last few years. Those years can be so difficult for everyone no matter what plans are made. I know your parents always loved and appreciated you

    Love, Mary Ann Schatz (You may have learned that my Bill passed away last summer. He loved your parents, also.)

  14. Nalini Goyal on April 30, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Dear Laura,

    My heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family for the loss of your parents. Reading about them brings me closer to understanding where you get your brilliant mind and your deeply caring heart. Although I have known only through our mutual affiliation to the Roundtable and Reach. I could always see how impactful your contribution is to society as a whole. I send prayers for hope and healing for a peaceful future.
    Peace and Love,

  15. Anna Melbin on May 7, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    Laura, Heather let me know this hearbreaking news. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. My thoughts and love go out to you and your family. Wishing you some semblance of comfort and even joy in your lasting memories of your parents. My sincerest condolences, Anna

  16. Jeri Scrymiger Holm on May 17, 2020 at 12:20 am

    Laura, I am so sad to hear about your parents. Gail filled me in and what a great obit. I have many great memories of your mom and mine having coffee together at our house.

  17. Lora Carmignani Johnson on May 17, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    Laura- I was so sad to hear about the passing of your parents. I have so many wonderful memories of get-togethers at your house in Naperville when you and Diane were in school. I remember cookouts and sitting around the table at your house listening to all of our parents talk. Diane and I have reminisced about this in recent months. I remember your mom’s Volkswagen rabbit, and her ERA bumper sticker. She was literally the only person I remember talking with about ERA! They were both such genuinely kind and warm people.

    Sending prayers for peace and love,
    Lora (Carmignani) Johnson

  18. Jane and Jeff Norton on June 13, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    We are so saddened to now hear about the loss of your parents, Laura. We have many happy memories of them as well as dear, Liz,
    Who was a part of our lives as well. We spent a wonderful Christmas at their home in Los Altos.

    They took our boys in, gave them a home till they all found jobs. How wonderful was that!

    Please accept our deepest condolences to you and your family.

    If you are ever on the Vineyard, please stop by and see us.

    Big hugs from Jeff and myself.

  19. Elinor Fishman on June 16, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Dear Cousin Laura,

    I just learned of your loss yesterday, and I was stunned! I feel so sorry that I didn’t know at the time. Your Dad was my very favorite of all the cousins and he and your Mom were so dear to my heart. We had such good times in Sarasota when they were living there. Please know that my thoughts are with you and your family.

    Cousin Ellie

  20. Mimi Brody on June 25, 2020 at 3:03 am

    Laura, my heart goes out to you on the terrible loss of both your parents. They were both such wonderful people, and I have very fond memories of our family gatherings with them, including when your dad came to our wedding in 1993. The obituary you wrote beautifully captures their spirit and many accomplishments.

    I wanted to explain that I’m submitting the note from my mom since she doesn’t have email, and also send my deep condolences. Take care,

    Mimi Brody (daughter of Dave’s cousin Jan)

  21. Jan Brody on June 25, 2020 at 3:05 am

    Dear Laura,

    It’s been almost two weeks since Ellie told me about Dave and Sandy…I have been trying to write every day and I am stuck. Words can’t speak my sadness and sense of loss, and so much sorrow for you and your family, and Liz’s family.

    Memories keep flooding back to me. Dave and I were born within months of each other. So my memories go way back to Shaker Heights. Sample: We were 11 when Dave taught me to polka at a pavilion on the shores of Lake Erie. Too many memories for the Internet, but they are joyous, and I need to share them with you in an actual letter.

    Dave and Sandy have left a huge legacy of love given and returned in their lifetimes. To me, that is life lived to the fullest.

    With much love,

    Jan Brody (cousin Janice Rossin)

  22. Ann Gleason Sequerth '53 on July 23, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    As a fellow Cornellian, I was saddened to hear of the Rossins death. One fun memory was at a reunion where we were all waiting for a bus to deliver us oldsters to Bailey Hall. Another bus came along which was empty so Dave said he should change his route and take us. The driver finally agreed to take us but dropped us off down an Ithaca hill. As we trekked upward, the proper bus dropped people off at the door. Sandy berated Dave for thinking he was so “damn” smart. They were such a normal married couple. I admired them for all they did. My best wishes to their family.

  23. Dayna Weinstein on September 1, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Dear Laura & Family,

    I just this minute found out about your parents…I am truly saddened ….I always looked forward to seeing your parents – they were such a loving couple….I hope that this message brings some comfort to you as I keep you, your family and your beautiful parents in my thoughts and prayers.

    My deepest condolences,
    Dayna Weinstein, (Audiologist)

  24. Alice Richards on June 18, 2021 at 5:07 am

    Laura, Even though Alan’s I only had your parents to our house in Los Altos Hills, we found reciprocal conversation between us with common interests. Dave and Alan communicated their scientific talk while Sandy and I talked tennis plays. It was you and our daughter who found mutually sustaining experiences and a lasting friendship. We were saddened to hear of your parents’ deaths last year. Alan passed this March and I understand the lingering grief , memories and loss of someone so very close.
    I wish you many happy moments in reflection of the special occasions you and your family
    had and how proud your children as well as their following generations will sustain of their special genealogy of your parents. Blessings and love to you. Alice Ingham Richards

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