A Saturday’s child, Francine Blumenfeld Rosen was born in the Bronx, N.Y. July 7, 1928. She was the only child of first generation U.S. citizen parents, Herman Blumenfeld and Tecla Etkin Blumenfeld.
Francine was raised in Berlin, Germany and Paris, France where her father was assigned to manage the European based offices of Fox Movietone News. When Nazi forces began destroying Jewish businesses in Germany, she and her mother moved to Paris where her father later joined them. At five, Francine began ballet lessons – six days a week — with the Russian Princess Mathilda Kachinskaya, a former member of the Imperial Russian Ballet. Francine also played piano and became fluent in three languages. By 1939, with Nazi invasion imminent, Francine and her mother left Paris for the U.S. When the Nazis entered Paris, Francine’s father escaped through the Pyrennes in Spain to join his family in Queens, N.Y where Francine attended Forrest Hills High School until 1945 when she graduated at 17.
With her parents returning to Paris after WW II to continue their work, Francine majored in International Studies at Vassar College, commuting by ship when possible, and graduating in 1948. After graduating, Francine began a History PhD program at the Sorbonne in Paris. However, she had met the love of her life, Edward Rosen, an ex-Navy Seal (Underwater Demolition Team, UDT) and newly minted attorney. They married in 1949 and raised four children in Poughkeepsie. After her fourth child, Francine picked up her Masters in French literature and began teaching French in pre-K, grade school, high school, and later college.
Still teaching, now part-time, at Dutchess Community College, Francine, in 1985, with a colleague, created an entrepreneurship, Overseas Visitors Orientation Ltd, which helped foreign executives, many French and Japanese IBMers, and their families adjust to living in the unfamiliar culture of Dutchess County, N.Y., and also assisted Americans headed for overseas. That same year, after her school, the IBM French School, cut Francine’s class load in response to her organizing actions, Francine brought about a novel employment relations case as spokesperson for dissatisfied IBM French school employees who were not yet organized in a union. The state Supreme Court justice ruled in her favor, reversing a previous Public Employment Relations Board decision, holding that non-unionized employees rights to voice their concerns are protected, otherwise the right to organize is illusory.
Widowed in 1995, Francine sold the family home, packed up her dog, Poosha, and drove to Portland, OR where her daughters lived. She soon brought her mother west and began giving private French lessons in her home.
Francine was an active member of the Alliance Française, Every Other Tuesday French cadre, and the Sellwood Community Center Exercise for Every Body, and in each she formed strong friendships.
Francine was predeceased by her husband, son Mathew Rosen and son-in-law Neveld Chevalier. She is survived by her three daughters Louise Rosen (Ken Davis), Janet Rosen (Ron Solomon) and Anne Chevalier and three grandchildren Daniel Chevalier, Sam Solomon and Judith Solomon, all of Portland OR.
Remembrances to Providence Hospice, End of Life Choice Oregon, Habitat for Humanity and the Oregon Humane Society.
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