On, May 13th 2021, Rose Westheimer, loving wife, mother and grandmother died at the age of 89. Rose, a holocaust survivor, was born in Germany and at the age of 6 with her parents, Berthold and Selma Kahn, fled to Luxembourg and later France to escape the Nazi regime. In France, they faced unimaginable hardships, and survived because - as she would say in many presentations she made in schools and synagogues - they were blessed with “the goodness of total strangers who risked their lives for them.” Her tenacity, will, and strength, which were apparent to all who knew her, likely also contributed to their survival.
After the war, Rose and her parents lived in Luxembourg, where she attended the equivalent of high school and junior college and they came to the US in 1952 and where she soon met Paul Westheimer, an immigrant from Switzerland, who along with his parents ran a farm in Middleburgh NY. They were married in 1953, started a family and moved to Schoharie, NY where they founded Schoharie Valley Farms. There they grew vegetables that were sold to grocery stores and to Beech-Nut Baby Food, and later they opened the Carrot Barn, which in addition to carrots, sold gourmet foods, handcrafted items, and baked goods that followed Roses own recipes.
Besides working hard, Rose enjoyed family vacations on Cape Cod and traveling around the country with Paul in Gulliver, their RV, which they enjoyed as a couple and with their grandchildren! She cooked delicious meals and deserts with love and precision; contributing to extraordinary holidays and other celebrations. She extended her generosity to her friends and communities, always quick to jump in and help others in need.
Rose was a long-time member of Agudat Achim Synagogue in Niskayuna NY, where she and Paul had a close-knit group of friends. Work and community melded with the founding of the synagogues’ Carrot Festival in 1978. The annual fall event has continued since then, showcasing foods and desserts from all over the world including carrot cake, carrot bagels, local produce, and music.
In Schoharie, Rose was an engaged leader in community organizations including the PTA and Girl Scouts. Later she became an active member of the Central Bridge Eccentric Club, a group whose company she tremendously enjoyed.
She and Paul moved to Marlborough Massachusetts in 2015 to be near their children and grandchildren.
Rose is survived by Paul Westheimer, her husband and best friend of 68 years, her daughter Carol Westheimer, daughter Kim Westheimer and her wife Madeline Klyne, and two grandchildren Allie and Joe Sosinsky. She was predeceased by her son, Alan Westheimer.
In a recent hospitalization, Rose filled a notebook with lists of instructions for her children, ranging from funeral to financial arrangements. In the middle was a page that said “I love you all.” This notebook epitomizes Rose. She was focused, in charge, and loving up until the end.
Two weeks days before she died, using zoom, she attended the wedding of her grandchild Allie to Jacob Burg and that gave her and her family much joy!
Donations in Rose’s name can be made to the Alan Westheimer Fund at Congregation Agudat Achim or the Alan Westheimer Education in Israel Fund at the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity at Cornell University.
Services were held at the Agudat Achim Cemetery on Schermerhorn Street in Rotterdam, NY on Sunday May 16, 2021 at 11:00am.
Alan Westheimer Fund at Congregation Agudat Achim
2117 Union Street, Schenectady NY 12309
Alan Westheimer Education in Israel Fund at Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity at Cornell University