Deceased April 8, 2020

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In Memory

Bob Rosengard—“Gandalf” in his later years—died on April 8, 2020. He grew up in Brookline, Mass.; attended Boston Latin School; majored in English; wrote a senior thesis on Blake; graduated with honors; and was a continuing source of joy to his friends. He taught English and headed the department in the Monticello (N.Y.) Central School District for 25 years and also taught in the local community college and in two local prisons. He served on the Board of Education. Bob hosted a weekly program on WJFF in Jeffersonville, N.Y.: “Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf.”

At Amherst Bob had a wonderful, wild vitality, speaking his mind vividly, holding his ideas with passion. In the staid 1950s, he lived with some flamboyance. He hosted poker games with Roger Sale in Valentine senior year. He read Tolkien before it was fashionable and later took on the name of a Tolkien character. Charlie Husbands ’61 visited Bob in recent years and reports that wherever they went in the area, people greeted him affectionately as Gandalf.

Bob’s life was generous and useful, but his last months were difficult. In August 2019 New York State authorities decided Bob was incapable of looking after himself and confined him in a nursing home. Amherst classmates Dick Dimond ’61, Dick Klein ’61, Andy Olesker ’61and Ron Daitz ’61 helped Bob’s sister, Rose Subotnik, get Bob released so he could move to a senior living community near her. But Bob fell and broke a hip, had to go to a rehab facility and as he was about to move to what Rose hoped would be his long-term home, he caught COVID-19 and died.

As Jews say of the departed, “May his memory be a blessing,” as his life at Amherst was for those of us who knew him.

Peter Berek ’61