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Rosaleen Petry

Obituary of Rosaleen Petry

Friday, May 18, 2018 at her home at age 100. 

Born: George Rose Farah, in Salem, NH, the only child of George and Wadia Farah.

She is survived by her children, George Petry and Wendy Petry; George’s wife, Sharon (Raynor); grandchildren, Paul and Gaelynn Rose;  niece-in-law, Carol (Kern) Wilson; and 2nd cousin Lydia Nofil Gordon.

Rosaleen was predeceased by her husband, Peter J. Petry. and her step-sister Yvonne.

Rose was placed in various convents to be cared for because her father died in a horse and wagon accident when she was forty days old.  She always said that she learned how to read and speak above her grade level because of the nuns who taught her. Eventually she and her mother would be reunited in Brooklyn where Wadia’s cousin, Mary Nofil lived.

After primary education in convents, Rosaleen would attend Central Needle Trades High School NYC and later earn a degree from City College of New York.

She entered the workforce at a sewing machine and quickly rose to become forelady of the Selecta Glove Company. She could walk to work from her Manhattan apartment at 3rd Ave. and 33rd Street.  She worked in the industry from 1939 until her marriage in 1952 to Peter, a teacher and investment advisor, from Rochester, NY. 

With her natural skills and leadership qualities she was recruited to be the first person certified to teach glove-making in New York. She was always poised and direct when speaking publicly or teaching. She was positive, encouraging, and praised for her speaking voice.

She took great relish in being a New Yorker during its heyday, yet she never developed a “local” accent, she thinks, because of the nuns’ example of how to speak and present oneself.

In Rochester her father-in-law, Ernest Petry, had taken up baking cookies in retirement based upon German family recipes which filled his family’s holidays.  Rosaleen became inspired to bake shortbread petit fours which could be frosted and decorated with flowers which she sometimes sold or donated for charity. And those artful creations still fill our holidays.

In the late 1960s, she was urged to learn flower painting on china in the classical style from Lee Wickter of Penfield, and quickly mastered and loved the medium.  She would go on to found The Genesee Valley China Painters Association which met weekly for decades creating fast friends for life.   She taught lessons and gave public lectures and demonstrations on the history of porcelain painting. She also found time to volunteer in nursing homes as a comforter.  She made such an impact that the Governor of NY gave her a commendation. (There was always a buzz when Mrs. Petry entered the building,  or when she couldn’t come!)  

She continued painting and kiln firing into her 90s and probably created 1,000 pieces from large to small in total. She never tired of painting flowers. 

She was loyal to her friends and a faithful correspondent. She loved Scrabble, Canasta and Bastra. She loved cream sherry and rose colognes.  And she loved her family. We will miss her dearly.

A Memorial Service will be held on FRIDAY, June 1 at 2 PM at Church of the Incarnation, 1957 Five Mile Line Rd., Penfield.  Those wishing may contribute to the American Heart Assn. or the Rochester Philharmonic in her memory.

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