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  • Writer's pictureWilliamsburg Funeral Home

Rosalie Burrows 1944-2024

Updated: May 7


Rosalie Burrows died at home on May 4, 2024 with her family beside her. She was in the late stages of dementia but remained her unmistakable self and never uttered a single word of complaint.


Rosalie was born eighty years ago in New Jersey and was recently described as “that remarkable girl from Trenton.“ Her mother’s family were wholesale florists and Rosalie spent time working in the greenhouses and helping make floral arrangements. She attended Catholic school through high school and as a teenager she would leave at recess and join marchers in front of the largest department store downtown protesting its “whites only“ hiring practice. She also traveled on her own to Greenwich Village to attend poetry readings and buy books.


Rosalie left Trenton for Georgian Court College, a small Catholic women’s school her mother had attended. She spent two summers in Los Angeles training for the Peace Corps. She got married instead and after a detour to Canada, where her son Jason was born in 1968, she went to graduate school at Duke University. She did research in London as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and was awarded a PhD in medieval history. Her dissertation was on the 14th century English Church.


Rosalie returned to New Jersey and to Georgian Court and became a history professor and Chair of the History Department. After her marriage ended she went back to school and graduated from the Yale Law School where Jason sometimes came with her to class and where they enjoyed many New Haven pizzas, which she maintained were second only to Trenton tomato pies. She also met Bob Krakower, a classmate, who shared their pizzas and became her husband for the rest of her life.


After graduating from Yale, Rosalie clerked for a Justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court. She then became a litigator at McCarter & English, the largest and oldest law firm in New Jersey, and was one of its early women partners. She was known for her courtroom arguments and especially for her beautifully written legal briefs. Rosalie was proudest of the work she did on behalf of Haitian refugees seeking asylum in the United States. She also served on the Editorial Board of the New Jersey Lawyer, as Vice President of the North Essex Development and Action Council, and as President of the Yale Law School Association of New Jersey.


After the arrival of their children Alex and Anne, Rosalie and Bob decided to stop practicing law and move to Montserrat, a small island in the Caribbean. Rosalie loved living there. She hiked, painted, made things, was a catechist in the church, taught art in the church school, and also helped keep the Red Cross school open in the early days of the volcanic eruption, all while spending time with Alex and Anne. She was never happier and she never grew tired of walking in town and hearing little voices say, “Good afternoon Teacher Rosalie.”


During her time in Montserrat Rosalie learned how to frame a wooden house, how to make furniture from branches and twigs, and how to drive a car in places not intended for that purpose – her nickname was “Stunt Car Driver.” She was a wonderful cook and managed to feed her family and entertain guests with delicious meals despite the often meager ingredients available for vegetarians. She also planned hikes and vacations that usually involved activities not designed for people less fearless than her, which meant pretty much everybody else. Rosalie was proud of having discovered a species of bee that was thought to have gone extinct. She relaxed by traveling back to the States to a Zen retreat.


Rosalie didn’t like being thought of as special but she was a rare combination of intelligence and elegance, kind but with a biting wit, progressive in politics but old-fashioned in manners. She was almost always the smartest person in the room and she was always a lady.


Rosalie is survived by Bob, usually known as “Rosalie‘s husband,” which he has always considered an honorific. Also by Jason, her son from her first marriage, who shares so many of her qualities. And by Rosalie and Bob’s son Alex and daughter Anne, who grew up in Montserrat and were a huge part of Rosalie’s love for the time they spent together there. Both helped care for Rosalie in her last years. And that difficult time was made so much better by the daily presence of Anne’s beautiful daughter Ramona. Rosalie is also survived by Jason’s wife Christina, who never did get her to play roller derby, and by their daughter Tigger, Jason’s daughter Tricia, and Tricia‘s husband and two daughters. Rosalie has two brothers she grew up with in Trenton; Charles, who along with his wife Eileen pre-deceased her, and George and his wife Gail. Rosalie enjoyed spending time with George reminiscing about their childhood and studying what looked like daguerreotypes of relatives. Her sister Sarah was a regular visitor and always made her laugh. Rosalie also leaves sisters Elizabeth, Jennie, and Maryann along with her nieces and nephews. Rosalie was pre-deceased by Jane Jones, who took loving care of her when she was a girl. Finally, Rosalie leaves the many good friends she made throughout her long and interesting life.


A memorial service will be held on a date and at a place to be determined.


Rosalie’s family offers special thanks to Susan Delisle, a hospice nurse at the Hospice of the Fisher Home who was a wonderful help to all of us. Contributions to the Fisher Home  in Rosalie‘s memory are welcome at fisherhome.org.

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