Stephen Gould Rose, 71, of Cold Spring, died April 23.
He was born in Bronxville on July 11, 1950, the son of R. William and Rosalie Rose. He moved with his family to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he attended Parkland High School and he participated in four varsity sports. He also starred in Guys and Dolls as Nathan Detroit.
Stephen matriculated at Yale University in 1968, but the antiwar movement intervened so he left to dedicate his time to social justice causes, including editing an underground newspaper and traveling to Cuba as part of the Venceremos Brigades. After marrying Judith Kepner in 1982, he returned to Yale, graduating with a BA in art in 1986. He later earned an MA from Columbia University Teachers College which led to a career as an art and art history educator at The Hewitt School in Manhattan. He loved teaching art as metaphor and taking the students to museums and gallery shows, his wife said.
Stephen said he loved Cold Spring since the day he got off the Metro-North train from Manhattan early in 1993, having read an If You’re Thinking of Living In: Cold Spring article in The New York Times.
He was undaunted by the Superfund site, and loved eating blueberries atop Bull Hill, said his wife. They moved there almost immediately after that first visit. He loved being able to walk to the train and the grocery store. He was dedicated to his gardens which have evolved over the years, featuring many native species in support of birds and pollinators. Recently he and Judith began thinking of downsizing but she said every time Stephen considered moving elsewhere, he would come home, look at the river and Storm King and declare there was no place better to live.
After retirement — a word he said he disliked because it sounded too much like inactivity — he was a member of Gallery 66 in Cold Spring, and showed his emotionally complex, colorful, and varied paintings in many venues, his wife said. He also volunteered doing trail repairs, and more recently, invasive species identification and removal. With others, he planned and installed a pollinator garden at West Point Foundry Park in 2021.
Along with his wife of 40 years, Stephen is survived by his sisters Susan Rose Ackerman and Barbara Rose Caldwell.
Services will be private. To remember Stephen, consider planting a native plant in his honor; the bees and birds will appreciate it.
Stephen Rose was a quiet gentleman who spent his free time eradicating invasive plant species and restoring native plants, and who advocated for a ban of noisy, gas-powered leaf blowers. Who among us has the courage, energy, and time to carry his mission and vision for the world forward?
I met him only once and instantly felt he was a kindred spirit. Stephen, your gentleness, enthusiasm, and generosity toward the natural world will be well missed by those who were fortunate enough to meet you, and it is a loss to all those in society who missed the chance.
I was so shocked to hear of Steven’s passing. I met Stephen at the weekly meditation sittings at the Garrison Institute. I found his soulful curiosity inspiring. Just last month he offered some lumber from a tree that was cut down in his yard. When I went to pick it up, I learned more about his history as an art I teacher and painter. We walked along the hillside paths he created and talked about native plants, dry stack stonewalls and non-duality. I will miss him.