Remembering Lottie Rosen: Dedicated educator, fighter against injustice

As a teacher, Lottie Rosen always strove to make things better for her students. She will also be remembered for her dazzling smile, her love of family, her iron will and unwavering indignation at injustice.

Lottie Rosen: April 5, 1925 — April 4, 2020

Lottie Rosen, née Lottie Laub, was born April 5, 1925 in New York City, the youngest child of Aron and Molle Laub.

A bright, studious young woman, she graduated from Hunter College in 1945. At 16, she met Paul Rosen, the love of her life, while leafleting together against fascism and in favor of workers’ rights. They married in the midst of World War II in 1943, raised two daughters, and were together until his death in 2013.

After her family moved to Berkeley, CA. in 1954, Lottie returned to school, got her teaching certificate, and taught home economics to high school students in Oakland.

Later, she got her Masters degree in special education, became the director of the Berkeley Nursery School for Retarded Children, and later an Administrator for Special Education in the Berkeley Unified School District. When she retired, the City of Berkeley proclaimed April 18, 1986 “Lottie Rosen Day.”

Lottie always strove to make things better for her students. As a home economics teacher, she fought for a curriculum that included nutrition, child development and household budgeting, far better preparation for adulthood than recipes for tomato aspic salad. When teaching children with special needs, she realized that separating children with disabilities from others in the classroom limited the experiences and education of all of them, and became an early proponent of mainstreaming.

While pursuing her career, she remained a loving, nurturing and playful mother and grandmother. She was fiercely protective of her family. Together with Paul, she created a home that became a haven of peace and love for their children, grandchildren, nephews and friends in need.

Lottie and Paul Rosen married in the midst of World War II in 1943. Photo: Courtesy family

Lottie and Paul enjoyed an active life together, hiking with the Berkeley Hiking Club, folk dancing, reading plays with friends, attending theater and concerts, often using tickets provided for seniors and students by The Club, which they helped run through the East Bay Jewish Community Center. After retirement, Lottie volunteered for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), as an advocate for children.


Lottie and Paul shared a loving and close relationship. In the years following his death, not just family, but loving caregivers played an essential part in her life.

She will be remembered for her dazzling smile, her all-embracing mothering instincts, her love of family, her iron will and unwavering indignation at injustice.

She was predeceased by her brothers Moish and Louis, her sister and best friend Rachel, and her beloved husband, Paul. She leaves behind her daughters, Terry Ustaszewski (Zig) and Susan Segal (Louis), grandchildren Benjamin (Tee), Molly (Michael), and Kelly (Michael), and great grandson Joah, as well as countless nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends.

In lieu of flowers, go out and vote for Democrats. Donations in her name may be made to the Alameda County Community Food Bank or to Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay.