This has turned out to be a week of tremendous highs and lows. After five days of pure joy in the Bay Area, filled with friends, fun, and drum corps, I lost a great friend, and brother, today. His name is Ros De La Rosa.
I’ve known Rozzie for about 30 years… Back to shortly after I took, what was supposed to be, a six-month hiatus from Hollywood that turned into a 15-year sojourn into Information Systems and Technology.
Roz and I used to like to joke about how we started as “Girl Fridays” at Chemical Bank. In truth we were both hired by a guy named Arne Bronder as Lotus 1-2-3 and DBase III Programmer/Analyst types. I started a bit before Roz, and he later took my place after I moved up to a staff position in another department.
Days turned into years, and, as our skill and experience grew, we both moved up into Technology Officer Positions, both wound up leaving the bank and making our marks as Independent Consultants, both with our own companies, and living the lifestyle of Fortune 100 consultants in the big-money days of the Clinton era, prior to the technology bust of the post-Y2K Bush era. That’s when our paths diverged. I went back into film, choosing to try and leverage my tech skills into the brave new world of Digital Production Technologies, and Roz, a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker, if there ever was one, carried on in banking, finding, and marrying, his love, Annette, and settling down in NY State where they raised to two beautiful daughters.
Roz was an amazing man… Boundless energy, huge heart, and the kind of nature that always managed to find the best in the people around him… Tolerance was his middle name, and he embraced everyone who would call him friend.
To those of us lucky enough to fall into that category, there was nothing Roz wouldn’t do for his friends… He was always there to help, and always helping whoever was there. And that was a pretty large crowd.
When I went through my own ordeal by fire, during the early days of my career change, Roz was there for me… Giving me a helping hand, and a place and time to figure things out. And that time lead to me heading back out to California again, facing the Dragon, and kicking it’s proverbial ass.
Roz was a beacon of light and love in his community of friends and family… He was constantly giving. It was just his nature… His happiness came from being surrounded by loved ones, whether it was the family he grew up with, the family he chose, or the family he built with Annette. He was a very rare man, in every sense of the word.
It’s not often that we get a chance to express our gratitude for the people in our lives that are there during those pivotal moments when we need that extra hand up, or those words of encouragement. Fortunately, I had that opportunity a couple of Christmases ago after sending a few gifts, and words of appreciation, to Roz and Annette for Christmas, and was blown away when Roz and the whole family came to me via a video call on Christmas Day… It was really nice. It was also the last time I would ever get to speak with Roz.
Roz had been sick with some severe gastro-intestinal problems for the last couple of years… He had made a Facebook post the other day about getting ready for another surgery, hopefully one of the last. So it came as a total shock when our mutual friend, and former Chem-Banker, Mitch Goldstein posted this morning that Rozzie had passed away today.
I sent a message to Annette, and will speak with her when all the things that a young widow has to do after an event like this has settled in a bit… I know she has a lot of family, and all of Roz’s friends around to support her. Rozzie was there for us, and we will be there for his family.
Mitch and I spoke briefly this evening… Both in shock, but both filled with stories to share about our friend, and brother, Roz… Who won’t be so much mourned, as celebrated, as a life such as his deserves to be.
The time will come for memorials and remembrances, but for now I’ll just end with a Masonic funeral prayer. Roz never had the opportunity to become a Brother of the Order, but I know of fewer men who embodied the Masonic ideas of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth, than Roz De La Rosa…
Soft and safe to thee, my brother, be thy resting place! Bright and glorious be thy rising from it! Fragrant be the acacia sprig that there shall flourish! May the earliest buds of spring unfold their beauties o’er thy resting place, and there may the sweetness of the summer’s last rose linger longest! Though the winds of Autumn may destroy the loveliness of their existence, yet the destruction is not final, and in the springtime, they shall surely bloom again. So, in the bright morning of the resurrection, thy spirit shall spring into newness of life and expand in immortal beauty, in realms beyond the skies. Until then, dear brother, until then, farewell!