Rosanna Sattler Dies–An Obituary and a Remembrance by Debbie Bernick
November 26, 2017 in In Memoriam, Notes, Recent Deaths
We’re sad to report the untimely death of classmate ROSANNA SATTLER (TD).
Here is an obituary:
Here is a remembrance by DEBBIE BERNICK:
MY DEAR FRIEND ROSANNA
Dear ’72 Women and Friends,
It is with great sadness that I share the news that Rosanna Sattler passed away on Friday, November 24th after an extended illness. I received word via her neighbor, Dorrie King and her husband, Ed Orenstein.
Some of you may know that Rosanna had congenital heart issues (related to ventricular fibrillation), and they reached such a serious level this summer that she underwent a heart transplant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She struggled in recovering from the operation, with a loss of some kidney function. Ultimately, she died from bacterial infections related to the surgery and the recovery process.
Rosanna was one of 48 of us who transferred to Yale from Smith in Fall ’69. She was one of the most upbeat, funny, warm, wise, intelligent, committed, politically savvy and compassionate people I’ve ever known — and a damned good lawyer as well! We first met in Gov 100 class at Smith – where Rosanna showed her political argumentation skills early on. When we both heard that Yale was going coed, we thought – wow! — a great adventure – let’s apply! After we both heard that we’d been accepted, she and I asked to be in the same dorm, and we thankfully ended up in T.D. together.
In the summer of 1970, during a trip to Europe, Rosanne met the love of her life — Ed – at a brewery in either Holland or Belgium, as I recall. A few of us attended their wedding in 1973, still with our long hair and hippie-like clothing. Rosanna had a passion for theater and acted in the T.D. Dramat as an undergrad, leading her to attend Yale Drama School for one year in ’72 – ’73. She then switched to studying law at Harvard Law School. She and Ed settled in Cambridge in the 1970’s and have lived in the same triple-decker all these years, They also have places on Martha’s Vineyard and in the Berkshires.
Rosanna began her career with a very large law firm – Hale & Dorr – but soon switched to a medium-sized firm, Posternak, Blankstein & Lund, where she became one of their first female partners. An obituary about Rosanna will be appearing in the Boston Globe on Monday, November 27th, recounting her career. (I’ll try to get an emailable version or send a link to everyone.) The obit may mention charities to contribute to in her name — though perhaps we ’72 women can talk at our December 8th luncheon in NYC about possible ways to remember Rosanna specifically through Yale.
Over the years, Rosanna attended many of our ’72 reunions. I know that she was very touched to see everyone at the 45th reunion last Spring, despite having had health problems right before the gathering. She also came in from Boston to attend many of our luncheons in New York. Ten years ago, Rosanna and I attended a 35th Reunion at Smith College, where we met some women we had known as freshmen. Rosanna often marveled at the quality of both her Smith AND Yale educations, and the caliber of women who graduated from both schools.
One of my favorite recent memories was when Rosanna flew down to DC for the Women’s March on January 20, 2017. She and I weaved in and out among the protesters — chanting slogans, laughing at the clever signs, and lamenting the awful policies we knew might soon be enacted. It reminded us of our college activism, particularly the 1970 May Day demonstrations. As proud, pioneering women, we felt that we, once again, belonged out there in the trenches!
One of my most poignant memories also took place in DC, two years ago. Rosanna had come in for a legal conference, but a health incident upon her arrival at the airport led to her being hospitalized briefly at Virginia Hospital Center, near where I live. Could I come pick her up to bring her back to the airport so she could fly home? Of course! It was so meaningful for me to be there for a classmate who had always been there for me, and for others. In the E.R., where she had been treated, she and I talked briefly about her heart condition – especially the vagaries of knowing you could have a sudden serous incident at any time. She was brave and determined to lead a full life, always knowing the preciousness of every moment.
Rosanna loved people. She loved dogs, too, and had several pets who meant a lot to Ed and her over the years. She also loved deep intellectual conversations, skillful litigating, social justice advocacy, staying over in Martha’s Vineyard, Great Barrington and other favorite spots in New England, taking overseas trips, eating good food in the company of good friends, and sharing fond memories of her dynamic mother (who had visited us at Yale) and her childhood years in Morristown, NJ.
Rosanna and Ed made an incredible, mutually supportive duo for over 40 years. They helped support a group of schoolchildren in Cambridge, to ensure that they could go to college. Rosanna also mentored many young lawyers and was always generous in sharing her expertise. She was particularly devoted to a niece in Massachusetts who, like Rosanna, has a love of theater. Rosanna regularly took her niece to shows in Boston and NYC.
Some of you may also know that Rosanna had a special passion for space exploration and was an expert on Space Law. Perhaps she is out there in the heavens now, smiling down on us and staying current in her adopted field.
At our 40th Yale reunion, Rosanna and I walked through the Sterling library and stopped in the front reading room to recall the many evenings (and maybe even a few all-nighters!) we had spent writing papers in the stacks at Yale. She pointed to the green leather seats – the vintage globe – the vaulted windows — the periodical shelves — with her sparkling eyes and limitless enthusiasm – like an excited undergraduate again, a new arrival from Smith ready for big adventures at Yale! That was Rosanna — a true enthu kid for her entire lifetime.
Rosanna – they say that a thing of beauty lasts forever. You were truly a person of great beauty, and our sweet memories of you will never diminish. There were only 10 sophomore women in T.D. that first year, and you made a big difference in all our lives. You will forever live on in our hearts as we reminisce (and sometimes sing) about our “bright college years”.
It is terribly sad that Rosanna won’t be with us to celebrate 50 Years of Coeducation at Yale in 2019. Farewell, Rosanna, our devoted classmate and friend.
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