First published in the March 26 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Are you a longtime Burbanker? Have you been involved in the community in any way over the years? Do you feel like so many, that Burbank is the poster city for one-degree of separation in that almost everyone seems to know someone who knows someone?
If that describes you, do you recognize the names Robert and Ruth Rosen?
If not, you are far from being alone.
While the Rosens lived in Burbank for many years, they kept an extremely low profile. Ruth Rosen, who had a career as a personal director in the retail business, died at the age of 91 in 2017. Robert Rosen, who served in the U.S. Air Force, graduated from UCLA, and then worked for many years as a comptroller in the entertainment industry, died in 2019 at the age of 90.
By all accounts, the Rosens, who had no children or living relatives, lived a quiet life in an unassuming townhouse condo on North Kenwood Street. They were not involved with any service clubs or community organizations. Their names and photos never appeared in this newspaper. In fact, photos of them, other than photocopies of the ones on their driver’s licenses and passports, are not known to exist.
And yet, while the Rosens’ names were never in any way associated with Burbank during their lives, they soon will be, when Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center opens its new emergency department and urgent care facility in late summer.
When the doors open to this new $78 million-dollar state-of-the-art facility, fully funded by the community through the Providence Saint Joseph Foundation’s “Minutes Matter” campaign, the emergency department’s pediatric waiting area will bear the names of the Rosens, who made it possible through an extremely generous posthumous donation.
Last week, the Rosen’s trustee, Brian Carlin, and their attorneys, Bob and Ryan Bowne, met with the foundation’s chief philanthropy officer, Tina Johann, to share some of their stories of the Rosens, tour the construction site and present the check.
The tour, which saw construction project manager Jessica Sherk take the lead, gave Carlin and the Bownes a comprehensive look at what will soon be a 35,000- square-foot emergency facility that will offer improved triage, increase the ability to treat more patients, and will include innovative behavioral health services, specialized treatment and waiting rooms, and sophisticated dedicated imaging and lab services that will provide more convenient and faster diagnostics.
Following the tour, Carlin and the Bownes met with Johann in her office for the check presentation.
Grateful to the Rosens for what Johann called “one of the largest individual gifts the campaign has received,” she explained that the campaign, which began in 2016, is the largest in the Providence Healthcare system’s history.
“It has been a huge point of pride for the foundation and has embodied Providence’s mission to ‘Know me, care for me and ease my way,’” Johann said. “We are so grateful to the Rosens who had a place in their heart for us, and whose names and legacy will now live on through their gift that has had significant leverage in the completion of our fundraising goal.”
Looking at a rendering of the pediatric waiting facility, Carlin who described Robert Rosen as a soft-spoken man who was always upbeat, said he knows how much this would have meant to him and his wife.
“They would have loved this,” he told Johann.
Bob Bowne, who served on the Burbank school board, City Council and as the city’s mayor in the late 1980s and early 1990s, handed the settling of the Rosens’ estate, which left significant gifts to numerous organizations.
“One of the things that always impressed me about the Rosens was that, while they were devout people of the Jewish faith, they also embraced the Christian faith, which has been evident in the gifts they arranged to leave through their estate,” Bob Bowne said. “They were humble people who gave with a compassionate heart.”
Expressing his memories of the Rosens, Ryan Bowne told Johann that the financial gifts they chose to leave struck him on an emotional level.
“They had achieved financial success, and yet chose to live a very modest lifestyle,” said Ryan Bowne. “They didn’t spend money on themselves because they wanted to be able to leave a legacy that would have a positive impact on the community.”
If you would like to play a role in supporting the completion of this vital project, you can make a donation by calling (818) 847-4673 or visit supportsaintjoseph.org/minutesmatter.
DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at email@example.com or (818) 563- 1007.