On Saturday Dec. 19, 2020 Rosalind (Samuel) Phillips, beloved mother, nana, and great-grandmother passed away at the age of 95 after contracting Covid-19.
Rosalind was born on Sept. 13, 1925 to Florence (Cooper) and Milton M. Samuel in Mattituck, N.Y., on Long Island’s North Fork. Florence and Milton owned a small department store on Pike Street in Mattituck, where they raised their daughters Rhoda, Rosalind, and Eleanor in an apartment upstairs.
Mr. Samuel was a former French teacher and accomplished violinist, who in the late 1930s would take part in musical evenings playing with Albert Einstein, who summered in nearby Southold, N.Y.
The Samuel sisters grew up with a deep love of language and music.
Rosalind was an excellent student, though painfully shy.
As the story goes, she was poised to be the valedictorian of her class at Mattituck High School but, rather than deliver a speech at graduation, she intentionally threw her last exam, graduating as salutatorian instead. While Roz didn’t like being in the spotlight herself, she rejoiced at seeing others there.
Rosalind married Morton J. Phillips, of St. Albans, Queens, on Oct. 20, 1946. They lived a long and happy life together in Mattituck, managing what became Phillips Department Store and raising their sons William and Richard.
In their later years, Morty fished every day on the sound and Roz cooked up the catch. For fifty years they lived next door to Rosalind’s childhood and lifelong friend Connie Moisa and her husband Joe, as they raised their families together on the water.
Roz and Morty ultimately retired to Key Largo, Florida, a fisherman’s paradise, where Roz swam every day, played Mahjong and learned line dancing. Morty predeceased her there in October 1998.
Roz, known as nana to her four grandchildren, loved to dance — she could still do a tap dance time-step in her 90s — and once said she would rather dance than eat, especially at weddings, which continues to be sound advice.
She was also fiercely independent and comfortable on her own. She read biographies and knitted. Not a sentimental person, she delighted in practicality and being in the present moment. Like many of her generation, she hated to be wasteful. One of her favorite items in recent years was a portable, reusable nylon shopping bag.
She had a great big laugh that she shared easily and wasn’t afraid to tell you what she thought.
She will be forever missed by her children Bill and Karen (Flanigan), Richie and Dorrie (Reiter); her grandchildren, Jessica (Lorenz), Matthew, Tyler, and Benjamin; and her great grandchildren, Audrey, Dylan, Aria, June, and Aaron; as well as nieces and nephews Beverly, Donald, Robert, Arlene, Stephen, Nancy and Michael.
We hated that we couldn’t be with her to say goodbye but knowing how independent she was and her discomfort with being the center of attention, we hope this somehow made the transition easier for her. We love you, Nana.
The family is grateful to the staff of Daughters of Sarah Senior Community for their kind and compassionate care for and friendship with Rosalind.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rosalind Phillips, please visit our floral store.