Long Time Alamitos Heights Resident – Helene Rose

Alamitos Heights Resident Helene Rose passed away in December.

Here is what the Press Telegram had to say;


HELENE ROSE, 1917-2013: Longtime educator one of Long Beach’s first women principals

Helene Rose 

By Rich Archbold, Long Beach Press Telegram


 LONG BEACH >> Right up to the end, Helene Rose had a sense of humor.

Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November, the legendary Long Beach educator had returned home in Alamitos Heights after a short hospital stay, telling her family and her doctor that she was “ready to go,” according to her nephew Bill Baker.

Rose held on for one more day; she died Dec. 4, the day of her 96th birthday.

Shortly after midnight on the day of her death, she awoke and her caregivers sang “Happy Birthday” to her in English and Spanish.

Rose was one of the first three women to become a principal in the Long Beach Unified School District, and was a much admired teacher and administrator in the district for 35 years.

“My first years teaching, she was a legend,” said former Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill. “She was a pioneer in education and administration. She had an indomitable spirit and will be greatly missed. She affected thousands of kids she was responsible for.”

Rose worked as a teacher or principal at Jane Addams, Cleveland and Garfield elementary schools before moving into key roles at the district office. After 35 years with LBUSD, she retired in 1983 as director of the district’s Child Development Centers.

She was known for her sharp wit and wise counsel, especially in her annual Christmas cards.

“Being 95 years old, I have learned that laughter is to life what shock absorbers are to automobiles,” she wrote last year. “It won’t take the potholes out of the road, but it sure makes the ride smoother.”

“I just acquired a new five-year driver’s license with no restrictions,” she wrote in another card. “Can’t you envision me at 100 years wobbling in to request a new license?? Taa Daa!!”

Helene was born in 1917 in Macon, Mich., and graduated from what is now Eastern Michigan University. She taught in Michigan and Ohio before moving to California, later doing graduate work at USC.

On June 21, 1947, she married Bob Rose after a six-year engagement while he served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Her husband suffered a major heart attack in 1973 and became the first patient to undergo open-heart surgery at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. He died in 1997.

“We packed a load of memories in our 56 years together,” she said in a Memorial Medical Center publication in 2007. “Twenty-five of those years were because of Memorial.”

Helene was an amazing women with a world full of friends, said Robyn Norwood, a neighbor.

“She was active until her final month,” Norwood said. “Another neighbor, Greg Baffert, built her a wheelchair ramp in the last days of her life. We all agreed it would be worth it if she rolled down it for one trip around the neighborhood, and she did, when neighbor Christina Dunn took her out for a spin.”

She is survived by a niece, Joanie Quinn; nephew-in-law Dr. Frank H. Quinn, both of Tecumseh, Mich.; nephew Bill Baker and niece-in-law Mary Baker, both of Corona.

At Helene’s request, there will be no memorial service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Musical Theatre West or the Long Beach Community Concert Association.


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