Virginia Beach —Rose Frances Levinson Glasser, 101, died on April 20, 2016.
Blessed with a century of life, Rose Frances didn’t waste a moment. Her natural curiosity combined with her drive, led her to be a voracious reader, a world traveler, a good business woman, and a revered community leader. But she was so much more than even those high accolades.
First and foremost, Rose Frances was devoted to her family; loving and inclusive, very interested in those things that mattered most to her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. All would say their mother, grandmother, and great grandmother affectionately known as “Mema,” was one they would consult when sound advice and life wisdom was needed.
Rose Frances was also very close with and devoted to her sister, Bernice L. Kaplan and her brother Seymour “Buddy” Levinson, of blessed memory, and the extended Glasser family.
The devoted first-born child of Julius and Lena Levinson, as a very young girl, she worked as a seamstress in her parents’ clothing store, Howard Clothes, on Granby Street, in downtown Norfolk. Trained by the professional tailor there, Rose Frances became an accomplished seamstress and knitter. Who knows how many hats, scarves, and sweaters and blankets she knitted in her lifetime and then gifted to various family members and friends, young and old? Hard work and determination would define the rest of her life. Being the matriarch of a large family, by reason of her kindness, wisdom and sheer length of years, was an obligation she embraced and her days were filled with being certain she took care of all in her family.
Her curiosity and intellect enabled her to also be a family historian and, thankfully, because of her interest, and her tenacity in memorializing the details of the Levinson, Barr and Glasser families, the generations that succeed her have the opportunity to know their ancestors, not simply by name and dates of their lives, but by the personal notes of an accomplished and devoted historian. She was a planner; once she envisioned a plan, she saw to it that she executed on it.
Anyone who had the chance to hear her speak, at the various boards and committees on which she served (because community involvement and improvement were important to her), quickly observed her talent with words. When Rose Frances would speak, people would listen. She could be feisty when the circumstances required it and everyone knew where Rose Frances stood – always on the side of her family.
Rose Frances graduated from Maury High School (Class of 1932) and Ohio State University (Class of 1936) with a degree in social work and took graduate courses at ODU. Her first full time job after college was working for the City of Norfolk assisting families in need during the Great Depression. She dated and then married Bernard Glasser, a young Norfolk lawyer, whom she had met briefly a number of years earlier at a fraternity house party at University of Virginia. Their union was a rock solid marriage and each of their children, Stuart, Richard, Jane Susan, and Michael, along with their spouses, Sarah, Martha, Joe and Lori, as well as eight grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren, became integral parts of Rose Frances’s life and family.
Rose Frances always praised Bernard and gave credit to him for the family’s many successes, but it was apparent to all that they were equal partners in their joint achievements. After Bernard’s death in 1983, Rose Frances spent three consecutive winters in Israel volunteering on various projects including knitting clothing for the Ethiopian immigrants, working at the Israeli Ministry of Justice and at Israeli libraries binding books. In 1986, she met Mark Schneider, of blessed memory, a Richmond widower, and they shared the next 17 years enriching each other’s lives.
By leading an exemplary life, Rose Frances was a wonderful role model for her family to hold the family together and to give back to our community.
Burial was private. The family thanks the staff at Beth Sholom. Memorial donations to a charity of choice.