Rochelle Son­nen­feld

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - OBITUARIES -

iong-term Abing­tonChel­tenham res­i­dent and statewide community leader Rochelle d. pon­nen­feld died Aug. 1T, 2012, at maoli eospit a l , fol­low­ing phys­i­cal ther­apy at The jead­ows at phan­non­dell, a sal­ley corge re­hab cen­ter.

A funeral ser­vice for friends and fam­ily was held Aug. 24 at jain iine Re­form Con­gre­ga­tion in tyn­newood. eer friend si­vian ppec­tor, pres­i­dent of the ieague of tomen sot­ers, Abing­ton, Chel­tenham, and genk­in­town com­mented,

”Rochelle Son­nen­feld was a good friend per­son­ally and good friend of this state. She was a very ac­tive mem­ber of the board of The League of Women Vot­ers for forty years with port­fo­lios on nat­u­ral re­sources, land use, wa­ter use, en­ergy, con­ser­va­tion, and health­care. Her re­search pa­pers’ ac­cu­racy and com­plete­ness were very im­por­tant in her writ­ing and she had a skill for in­volv­ing oth­ers in her en­thu­si­asm. She was reg­u­larly en­gaged with top of­fi­cials at town­ship, county, state, and na­tional lev­els. Those of us who had the priv­i­lege of know­ing and work­ing with her will continue to be in­spired by her life and miss her in­volve­ment and pas­sion.”

Rochelle pon­nen­feld was born in a small Rus­sian vil­lage just out­side hiev in 1918. pur­viv­ing the hor­rors of the pogroms by the Cos­sacks in Rus­sia, her fam­ily fled to the rnited ptates in 1922, em­i­grated through bllis fs­land. phe ar­rived on the thite ptar line’s ship the Cedric as a 4-year-old speak­ing no bnglish but soon be­came an ar­tic­u­late, in­volved pa­triot.

au­r­ing world tar ff she was one of “The Top pecret Rosies – The ce­male Com­put­ers” re­cently pro­filed for the first time the spring of 2012 on a mBp cront iine se­ries. rn­like the high pro­file “Rosie the Riv­eter” im­agery of women mas­ter­ing men’s work in heavy in­dus­try to cover for sol­diers at war, the “Top pecret Rosies” were mhiladel­phia young women math stars — who were en­listed into the war ef­fort to help with a li­ai­son be­tween the crank­furt Ar­se­nal, the Aberdeen test­ing grounds, and the rniver­sity of menn­syl­va­nia’s new con­trap­tion — the first com­puter — called the bkfAC. phe was proud of the im­por­tant suc­cess of this group in en­hanc­ing the bal­lis­tics ac­cu­racy of r.p. weapons but also for the ad­vance­ments in com­puter sci­ence and engi­neer­ing pro­duced by this project.

Rochelle pon­nen­feld con­tin­ued her ed­u­ca­tion past dirls eigh and Tem­ple rniver­sity grad­u­a­tions with ad­vanced stud­ies and grad­u­ate work in fields rang­ing from bio-chem­istry to po­lit­i­cal sci­ence. eer pub­lic ser­vice mis­sion also con­tin­ued on count­less community fronts from the Anti-aefama­tion ieague; to the ka­tional Coun­cil of Chris­tians and gews, and menn­syl­va­nia eu­man Rights Com­mis­sion — to the ieague of toman sot­ers for over 40 years — where she led 19S0s elec­toral reap­por­tion­ment cam­paigns for leg­isla­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion ,and long served on the menn­syl­va­nia ptate board of the ieague, where she helped push for health care re­form ini­tia­tives, nu­clear re­ac­tor safety, and en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivism. phe re­mains listed as a board mem­ber of barthright — an open land pro­tec­tion ad­vo­cacy and en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion group based in Abing­ton Town­ship. phe served as a leader of the menn­syl­va­nia eealth pys­tems Agency, where she helped lead ser­vice and fund­ing re­views of many area hos­pi­tals, nurs­ing homes and re­hab cen­ters.

fn pol­i­tics, she was noted for her reg­u­lar op-ed col­umns in lo­cal news­pa­pers as well as her coura­geous, in­formed pub­lic pro­nounce­ments at town coun­cil and school board meet­ings. phe was known for coura­geously cham­pi­oning of­ten noble but los­ing causes and promis­ing but of­ten fail­ing can­di­dates fre­quently cross­ing party lines with great friends de­spite po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences

fn fact, her own in­spir­ing but un­suc­cess­ful 198T cam­paign for pub­lic of­fice — pro­filed in the lct. 29 mhiladel­phia fn­quirer that year — noted its pre­scient call for bi­par­ti­san col­lab­o­ra­tionW

“dovern­ment by cri­sis and chaos,” is how one can­di­date, Rochelle pon­nen­feld, de­scribed the cur­rent Board of Com­mis­sion­ers. pon­nen­feld, a aemo­crat run­ning for elec­tion in tard 1, says that the com­mis­sion­ers are ‘’very hos­tile to each other” and that “more pro­fes­sional, states­man­like rep­re­sen­ta­tion” is needed.

phe was also a lov­ing and de­voted mother of two boys and was ac­tive in their ed­u­ca­tion at Chel­tenham and Abing­ton pub­lic high schools. eer older son, jarc pon­nen­feld , an at­tor­ney at mhiladel­phia’s jor­gan iewis and Bock­ius, com­mented, “that­ever mea­sure of suc­cess my brother and f have en­joyed came from the cor­rec­tion and en­cour­age­ment we re­ceived from our mother over the years.” eer younger son, gef­frey pon­nen­feld, a vale univer­sity pro­fes­sor com­mented, “The world is dif­fer­ent be­cause she lived, but also f have lost my best friend on the planet. phe was a con­stant source of in­tel­lec­tual in­spi­ra­tion, pro­fes­sional ac­com­plish­ment, so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity, and per­sonal emo­tional sup­port.”

jar­ried for 48 years to her lov­ing hus­band, Bur­ton pon­nen­feld, un­til his death in 1991, she helped run the fam­ily re­tail cloth­ing busi­ness, The eeir C den­try phop of eat­boro. phe is sur­vived by her sis­ters, aoris Rodin of tash­ing­ton, a.C., jyrna aar­rig of sal­ley corge and iee Ambrose of Columbia, jd.; her sons, jarc of eaver­ford and gef­frey of kew eaven Conn., as well as daugh­ters-in­law Ann pon­nen­feld and Clarky pon­nen­feld; and grand­chil­dren go­nathan, po­phie and iau­ren.

The fam­ily has re­quested that any do­na­tions be sent to ei­therW The An­tidefama­tion ieague; The ieague of tomen sot­ers; or the ka­ture Con­ser­vancy.

Rochell Son­nen­feld

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