Rochelle Son­nen­feld

The Ambler Gazette - - OBITUARIES -

the Cedric as a 4-year-old speak­ing no English but soon be­came an ar­tic­u­late, in­volved pa­triot.

au­r­ing world War II she was one of “The Top Se­cret Rosies – The Fe­male Com­put­ers” re­cently pro­filed for the first time the spring of 2012 on a PBS Front Line 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 Se­cret Rosies” were Philadel­phia young women math stars — who were en­listed into the war ef­fort to help with a li­ai­son be­tween the Frankfurt Ar­se­nal, the Aberdeen test­ing grounds, and the rniver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia’s new con­trap­tion — the first com­puter — called the ENIAC. She was proud of the im­por­tant suc­cess of this group in en­hanc­ing the bal­lis­tics ac­cu­racy of r.S. weapons but also for the ad­vance­ments in com­puter sci­ence and engi­neer­ing pro­duced by this project.

Rochelle Son­nen­feld con­tin­ued her ed­u­ca­tion past Girls High and Tem­ple rniver­sity grad­u­a­tions with ad­vanced stud­ies and grad­u­ate work in fields rang­ing from bio-chem­istry to po­lit­i­cal sci­ence. Her pub­lic ser­vice mis­sion also con­tin­ued on count­less community fronts from the Anti-aefama­tion League; to the Na­tional Coun­cil of Chris­tians and Jews, and Penn­syl­va­nia Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion — to the League of Woman sot­ers for over 40 years — where she led 1960s elec­toral reap­por­tion­ment cam­paigns for leg­isla­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion ,and long served on the Penn­syl­va­nia State board of the League, where she helped push for health care re­form ini­tia­tives, nu­clear re­ac­tor safety, and en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivism. She re­mains listed as a board mem­ber of Earthright — an open land pro­tec­tion ad­vo­cacy and en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion group based in Abing­ton Town­ship. She served as a leader of the Penn­syl­va­nia Health Sys­tems Agency, where she helped lead ser­vice and fund­ing re­views of many area hos­pi­tals, nurs­ing homes and re­hab cen­ters.

In 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. She 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

In fact, her own in­spir­ing but un­suc­cess­ful 1987 cam­paign for pub­lic of­fice — pro­filed in the Oct. 29 Philadel­phia In­quirer that year — noted its pre­scient call for bi­par­ti­san col­lab­o­ra­tion:

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

She was also a lov­ing and de­voted mother of two boys and was ac­tive in their ed­u­ca­tion at Chel­tenham and Abing­ton pub­lic high schools. Her older son, Marc Son­nen­feld , an at­tor­ney at Philadel­phia’s Mor­gan Lewis and Bock­ius, com­mented, “What­ever mea­sure of suc­cess my brother and I have en­joyed came from the cor­rec­tion and en­cour­age­ment we re­ceived from our mother over the years.” Her younger son, Jef­frey Son­nen­feld, a Yale univer­sity pro­fes­sor com­mented, “The world is dif­fer­ent be­cause she lived, but also I have lost my best friend on the planet. She was a con­stant source of in­tel­lec­tual in­spi­ra­tion, pro­fes­sional ac­com­plish­ment, so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity, and per­sonal emo­tional sup­port.”

Mar­ried for 48 years to her lov­ing hus­band, Bur­ton Son­nen­feld, un­til his death in 1991, she helped run the fam­ily re­tail cloth­ing busi­ness, The Heir & Gen­try Shop of Hat­boro. She is sur­vived by her sis­ters, aoris Rodin of Wash­ing­ton, a.C., Myrna aar­rig of sal­ley Forge and Lee Ambrose of Columbia, Md.; her sons, Marc of Haver­ford and Jef­frey of New Haven Conn., as well as daugh­ters-in-law Ann Son­nen­feld and Clarky Son­nen­feld; and grand­chil­dren Jonathan, So­phie and Lauren.

The fam­ily has re­quested that any do­na­tions be sent to ei­ther: The An­tidefama­tion League; The League of Women sot­ers; or the Na­ture Con­ser­vancy.

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