Roslyn Gladstone Brown

by | Jun 8, 2015 | Obituaries

Norfolk — Roslyn Gladstone Brown, 77, died on May 24, 2015 at the home in Norfolk she shared with her husband, Robert E. Brown. It was their 34th wedding anniversary. He and their sons David and Adam Herman were with her. She had chosen home hospice care as she coped with recently recurrent, but rapidly advancing, metastatic melanoma.

Roslyn was born on August 22, 1937 and reared in Portsmouth, Va. as the eldest child of Louis and Josie Gladstone (of blessed memory).

Roslyn was a smart and stylish woman who had many successful careers—as a business owner, a teacher, a college instructor, a teacher union executive and a lawyer. And all the while she was an active volunteer participant and leader in an array of community, arts and religious organizations.

She graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and then attended the University of North Carolina in Greensboro (1955–1957) and Columbia University in New York (1957–1959). After moving to Charlotte, N. C. in 1960 with her first husband and infant sons she completed her undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, which awarded her the degree of Bachelor of Arts with High Honors in 1964 with a major in French and a minor in education, after also attending the Sorbonne University in Paris for a semester. While in Charlotte she was also co-owner and manager of Smart Shops, Inc. (which operated three women’s clothing stores), an officer of her temple and supported the NAACP chapter and other civil rights causes.

Upon moving to Albany, N.Y. in 1968, Roslyn taught French at nearby Voorheesville High School through 1976. There she was the Foreign Language Department chair and led numerous student trips to Montreal and France to the delight and enlightenment of her adoring students. From 1972-1974 she also attended the N.Y. State University at Albany (SUNY Albany) and earned a Masters Degree in Education. In 1976-1977 she worked as the executive director of the N.Y. Teacher Education Conference Board and from 1976-1978 was also an instructor in the Education School of SUNY Albany. In 1976 she was awarded a full doctoral fellowship at SUNY Albany and in 1978 completed the examination and all requirements (except dissertation) for a Doctor of Education Degree.

In 1977, Roslyn began work as assistant director of Educational Services for New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the state-wide affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). She continued at NYSUT until 1981. During this period she served on the Governor’s Commission on Women (1977–79, a gubernatorial appointment); on the Regents Advisory Board on Bilingual Education (1978–81, appointment by Commissioner of Education); on the Teacher Education, Certification and Practices Board (1978–80, appointment by the Commissioner of Education; and on the National Advisory Board for Teacher Corps (1979–81, appointment by the U.S. Office of Education). Further, she was one of 100 selected nationally by the U.S. Government as a Washington Fellow in 1979 and was selected as one of 100 women to participate in a week-long White House Conference for Women in Leadership (appointed by the Carter Administration).

At NYSUT Roslyn was particularly proud of having launched its Effective Teaching Program which engaged master teachers and other educational training specialists to conduct intensive weekend courses to train teachers throughout New York and award graduate credits from affiliated colleges and universities. She was a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education (1976–1981) and a member of Phi Delta Kappa, the national honorary educational fraternity, and published articles in the Kappan and the Journal of Educational Research.

Upon re-marrying and moving to Norfolk in 1981 Roslyn spent her first year helping to organize Norfolk’s first chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. And then in 1983 she enrolled as a full-time student at T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond, earning her Juris Doctor degree in 1986. At law school she was a winner of moot court and counseling negotiations competitions and served on the boards of those competitions. She also served as a part-time law clerk for a Virginia Supreme Court Justice and was a member of Phi Alpha Delta national legal fraternity.

Roslyn practiced law with the firm of Howell, Daugherty, Brown & Lawrence (1986-1991) with emphasis on matrimonial and family law. She was a member of the Norfolk-Portsmouth Bar Association; the Virginia and American Bar Associations; the Virginia and American Trial Lawyers Associations; and the Virginia Women Attorneys Association (state board member). She participated in the Pro Bono program for juvenile and domestic relations courts, which led to her receiving an Outstanding Woman Award from the YWCA of Hampton Roads in 1990. Additionally, she was a founding board member and officer of the Second District Chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus, a member of the League of Women Voters and a life-long Democrat.

In 1991 Roslyn was asked to return to NYSUT in Albany for two years to form the NYSUT Education and Learning Trust and revitalize the Effective Teaching Program under its auspices. That commitment grew and she continued as its manager (and as a commuter between New York and Norfolk) until 2003 when she retired. Under her leadership the ETP course enrollments grew from 4,500 to over 12,000 plus workshop enrollments to over 36,000; the number of affiliated colleges giving graduate credit increased from two to five; and the program’s revenue grew from $1.6 million to almost $5 million.

In Hampton Roads, Roslyn volunteered her time in service to many organizations. She served on the boards of Beth Sholom Home and The Dwelling Place, a shelter for homeless families. Always a lover of music, she sang in the Ohef Sholom Temple Choir and the JCC-sponsored choir. Also she served on the boards of Virginia Opera Association and was president the its Hampton Roads Board of Governors; she was a founding board member of Lyric Opera Virginia; and she was a founding board member and twice president of the Tidewater Performing Arts Society.

In 2004 Roslyn was appointed by the City Council to the Board of Trustees of the Norfolk Public Library and served as its president from then until February 2013. She was an early and effective advocate for increased library funding and for replacement of the outdated Kirn Memorial central library. She was particularly gratified to participate in the planning for the new Slover Memorial Library, which opened this year.

In addition to her husband Bob, Roslyn is survived by her son Dr. David L. Herman of Albany, N.Y. and his wife Jennifer Rosenbaum; her son Adam Herman of Nag’s Head, N.C. and his wife Jodie; her daughter Emily Brown Phillips of Brooklyn, N.Y. and her husband Seth; her five grandchildren (Zachary Herman, Eric Herman, Claire Phillips, Jackson Phillips and Owen Phillips); her sister Diane Gladstone Haskell and her husband Gary of Sunny Isles, Fla.; her brother Irvin Gladstone of Mary Esther, Fla.; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

A memorial service took place at Ohef Sholom Temple. Memorial donations to the Slover Library Foundation (235 E. Plume Street, Norfolk, VA 23510) or to Ohef Sholom Temple-Woodward Music Fund (530 Raleigh Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23507). Online condolences at