Rose-Marie Chierici

Obituary of Rose-Marie Chierici

Friday, August 14th 2020, Rose-Marie Chierici passed away at the age of seventy-eight after a battle with Renal Cancer. She was surrounded by her loving husband, Alessandro, her sister Nellie Cassagnol, and her four children – Francesco, Roberto, Beatrice, and Monica, as well as one of her dearest friends, former student Hayley Martin - at her at home in Rochester NY. Rose-Marie (née Cassagnol) was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to Paul and Rosa in 1942, the eldest of twelve children. The family relocated to Washington DC in 1960. The following year, Rose-Marie matriculated at George Washington University, obtaining a degree in Zoology. While attending university, Rose-Marie met Alessandro, and from 1963 on they were inseparable. Married August 6th, 1964, they began a life of great love, travel, adventure, accomplishment, service, and family. Prior to moving to Rochester in 1978, Alessandro and Rose-Marie had lived in Washington DC and Rome, Italy. In 1984, as the last of her children began school, Rose-Marie embarked on a new journey, she began her post-graduate studies in Anthropology, obtaining her PhD from the University of Rochester in 1988. She taught at the University of Rochester, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and finally, at SUNY Geneseo from 1994. During her twenty years as a professor at Geneseo, Rose-Marie devoted herself to her students and her department. She retired as Chair of the Anthropology department in 2014 and remained Emeritus Professor of Anthropology until her death. In 1996, Rose-Marie began one of her life’s passions, returning to her native country to create Haiti Outreach Pwoje Espwa (, a community development project in Borgne, Haiti. Rose-Marie committed herself to improving the lives of the eighty thousand residents of the region through healthcare, education, and economic development. Her efforts and leadership led to the building of a fully staffed hospital with mobile clinics to support the remote residents of the vast region. A new library supports adult literacy programs as well as educational programs and has become an important gathering place for residents. Woman’s focused economic development programs have increased women’s agency and connected them to the resources needed to become entrepreneurs. Rose-Marie will be remembered by all as a caring and loving person with a deep passion for social justice. She will be remembered by her family as a wonderful wife, mother, and grandmother with a huge heart and a sweet sense of humor. She was an inspiration to all who knew her. Rose-Marie is survived by her husband of fifty-six years, Alessandro. Her children and grandchildren: her son Francesco, her daughter-in-law Hillary, two grandchildren, Isabella and Alexander; her son Roberto; her daughter Beatrice, her grandson Luca; and her daughter Monica, her son-in-law Kejuan, two grandchildren, Khalil and Mikaela. Her eleven brothers and sisters and her mother, Rosa Cassagnol.
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