Photography

Roseanna M Murray

March 16, 1938 ~ May 24, 2023 (age 85) 85 Years Old

Roseanna Murray Obituary

Roseanna M. Murray, of Highland Park, New Jersey, passed away on May 24, 2023. She was 85, although she probably would not have wanted you to know that.

Irish Rose was born a day before St. Patrick’s Day in 1938, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and grew up in the Stelton neighborhood of Piscataway, which had been founded by avowed anarchists. She was a quick learner; she came home from grade school one day and asked her mother whether there was really a God. In a possibly related turn of events, she finished primary school at St. Paul’s School in Highland Park, and then graduated from St. Peter’s High School in New Brunswick. (The neighborhood, and Rose’s experience, were included in a 2019 book called Radical Suburbs by urbanist author Amanda Kolson Hurley.)

Rose spent more than 30 years working for The Home News in New Brunswick when it was a real newspaper. She started in the late 1950s in the accounting department, and finished her career there in 1993 as community relations manager. After she left The Home News she earned her health unit coordinator certificate from Middlesex College, and worked as an office administrator for University Orthopaedics in New Brunswick, from which she retired.

In 1960 a 19-year-old girl named Carol Hladun began working in the accounting department at The Home News, and the rest, as they say, is history. Carol was the love of Rose’s life for the more than 60 years that they were together.

If you were looking for what made Carol and Rose pioneers, you would have to blame Toulouse. Carol and Rose had decided to ignore the no-pets policy at the apartment complex where they were renting, and Toulouse, ever the rascal, decided to give them up by sunning his little silver poodle self in the apartment window for all to see. The family was immediately invited either to give up the dog or to find another place to live.

So Carol and Rose decided the thing to do would be to buy Toulouse a house, so no one could ever again tell him where he couldn't live. Once they found a Realtor who was willing to show houses to two women (this was 1971, don’t forget, when discrimination was an accepted business practice), they found a house they loved, but when they went to apply for a mortgage, none of the brand-name banks would lend to them. They kept looking until they found tiny First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Montclair, which said it would be willing to give them a mortgage if they would provide a letter explaining why two single women would want to buy a house together. So they rolled their eyes, wrote the letter in the coded language of the day, and got the mortgage. Sadly, they did not keep a copy of the letter, which probably belongs in a museum. More than 25 years and three poodles later, they were still in the house and had paid off the mortgage. (To all of Carol and Rose’s gay friends who have no trouble getting a mortgage now, you know who to thank.)

When she wasn’t working, Rose loved a good book or movie, a witty repartee, an occasional trip to the casino, and holding court with her many friends and admirers. But her real passion was travel; Carol and Rose traveled everywhere, living the lines from Moon River, their favorite song: “Two drifters, out to see the world; there’s such a lot of world to see.” They did their best to see all of it.

How should we date Carol and Rose’s anniversary? For more than 50 years they were as a married couple, long before they could actually get married. So for more than 50 years, the postmark on a 1961 postcard from one of their early trips served as their anniversary date. They finally did marry, in 2014, after what turned out to be a 53-year engagement. (Both brides kept their names.)

Besides being Carol’s partner, Rose’s other favorite role was being sister-in-law to Arlene Meredith and beloved Aunt Rosie to Arlene's children Dawn, Dave and Dani and their spouses, and to her seven great-nieces and great-nephews and six great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews. To her large circle of dear lifelong friends who were blessed to know her warmth and love, she was Rosie, Rosietoes or RosieRose. She will be deeply missed by all.

For those so moved, donations in Rose’s memory may be made to Sammy’s Hope Animal Welfare and Adoption Center in Sayreville, or to Court-Appointed Special Advocates of Middlesex County, which provides advocates for children in foster care.

 

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