Jessica Roseman, 82, of Ashley Falls, died peacefully at home on January 11, 2021, after a long illness, surrounded by her family. Jessica died as she lived – with resilience, tenacity, bravery, compassion for others, and humor. Her absence is deeply felt and she is very much missed.
Born in New York City in 1938, Jessica began spending time in the Berkshires with her family at a young age, immediately falling in love with the country. She loved exploring the woods and learning about the local plants and wildlife (a fascination she passed on to many young people). As a child, she made her own poles for trout fishing, and often brought fish home from the nearby brook for the family dinner. She lived and worked in NYC until she moved to the Berkshires permanently, around 1974. Jessica worked primarily in education, and was especially skilled at working with children with disabilities. She was a gifted and highly trained pianist who started playing the organ in church when she was nine, enjoyed playing and singing with friends and family, and was the organist at Trinity Methodist Church in Ashley Falls for over 30 years. She was a single mother by choice at a time when that was rare, and she worked hard to create a loving, supportive community for her daughter to grow up in.
She adored her job as the children’s librarian in Sheffield, where she ran many wonderful programs, including vacation programs, music and stories for toddlers and preschoolers, and chess and Lego clubs.
Jessica had a lifelong passion for birds and birding. She also loved nature, gardening, reading, word games, crossword puzzles, music, and teaching. She had a bottomless interest in learning and knowledge, and enjoyed reading about a wide variety of subjects. She cared deeply about social justice, democracy, and human rights, and would go to bat to protect and support the underdog. She had a huge heart, strong opinions, and tended to say exactly what she thought. Those who knew her usually came to appreciate this. Above all was her love of humor and laughter, and she would do almost anything to get people to smile, even when she was very ill. She frequently reminded us to try to maintain a sense of humor, because “you may as well laugh!”
Jessica’s friends and family were a great joy for her. She leaves behind her beloved family: daughter Kate Magram; sister and brother-in-law Deborah and Ted First; her niece, two nephews, and eleven grandnieces and nephews, each of whom cherished their Aunt Jess; and many valued friends. She leaves her best friend of many years, Betty LeGeyt, with whom she shared numerous adventures, including leading a Bluebird troop, running library programs for children, and maintaining a years-long weekly study group. Her family is grateful for Karin Shanley, Jessica’s dedicated caregiver who also became her dear friend. Her family is also grateful for the many caring healthcare practitioners who helped her have the best quality of life possible, and for the countless friends and community members who have shown their love and support in a wide variety of ways. She loved and appreciated her local Ashley Falls/Sheffield community. Jessica was predeceased by her parents, Morris and Ruth Roseman.
As Jessica requested, there will be a small, outdoor memorial service in the spring. In lieu of flowers, Jessica suggested donations to Doctors Without Borders or Smile Train. The family would enjoy any specific memories you care to share. Memories and messages may be left on her memorial page at Boston Cremation (Bostoncremation.org).
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