Rosalyne Spindel Bernstein

2 entries
  • "Roz and Sumner were very dear to so many in the Portland..."
    - Jill Blackwood
  • "Many condolences to the family and friends of Roz. May God..."
    - L S
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Service Information
Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home
199 Woodford Street
Portland, ME

PORTLAND - Rosalyne Spindel Bernstein died peacefully at home on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, one week after her 90th birthday.

Roz was born on Dec. 22, 1928, in the Bronx, New York City, to immigrant parents, Harry Spindel and Bertha Lehrer Spindel.

She attended Radcliffe College of Harvard University, graduating in 1950. There she met the love of her life, Sumner Thurman Bernstein from Portland. Together they forged a lifelong partnership in marriage, family, public service, travel, collecting art, and playing bridge. She recently said "I came to Portland as a bride in 1950…and spent the rest of my life with the full support of my beloved husband involved in the Jewish and general communities."

Roz's parents impressed upon her the value of education and she always loved school and learning. Because she believed all children should have an outstanding education, she co-founded Headstart in the Portland Public Schools and served three terms on the Portland School Committee including one as chair. When she stepped down in 1972, the Portland Press Herald published a laudatory editorial about her titled "She Made Waves". She continued her own education earning a law degree from the University of Southern Maine in 1986, and was awarded honorary degrees from USM and Bowdoin for her work in education and public service.

Her parents believed that the United States was the greatest land on earth with opportunity unavailable to Jews anywhere else in the world. They instilled in her a sense of responsibility to give back to the community in thanks for all the opportunities she had. Her life of dedication to the public good embraced the fields of health, through service on state Health Care Commissions and boards of the Maine Medical Center and Spring Harbor Hospital and of higher education with decades of essential work for Bowdoin College, Harvard University and the University of Southern Maine. She was passionate about the Jewish community in Portland and with Sumner was a lifelong supporter of the State of Israel, traveling there dozens of times throughout her life. She was often called upon by government leaders to play important roles on boards, commissions and committees, bringing her brilliant analytical mind, considerable diplomatic skills and determination to reach the highest standards to every task she undertook.

In the late 1950s, at the urging of an artist friend, she and Sumner bought their first work of art, beginning a lifelong passion for art and for collecting. This led her to the Portland Museum of Art, serving on its board for six decades with her great friend Peggy Osher. Roz was President of the PMA from 1979-1981 leading the planning, fund-raising and ground-breaking for the Payson Building and significantly enhancing cultural life in Portland.

Throughout her life she loved doing puzzle - jigsaws, crosswords and double crostics. The whole family loved word games and would play them at the dinner table; Roz almost always won. An avid reader since childhood Roz devoured fiction, biography, history, current events, astronomy and science fiction, a love she passed on to her children. She also shared her love of watching sports, especially Harvard football. A devoted grandmother to her Portland and Texas grandchildren, she and Sumner built a warm home for a loving family.

She is survived by devoted family, her daughter, Beth Bernstein Schneider and son, Andrew J. Bernstein; son-in-law, Michael D. Schneider and Karla Krassner Bernstein; four grandchildren, Nicholas A. Schneider, Zachary A. Schneider and wife Rachel Katz Schneider; Rachel A. Bernstein and Matthew T. Bernstein and wife, Tiffany Gaines Bernstein.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, at Congregation Bet Ha'am, 81 Westbrook St., South Portland, Maine. The service begins promptly at 10 a.m. Burial will be at Temple Beth El Memorial Park followed by a reception at Bet Ha'am. The family will be observing Shiva on Saturday, January 5, from 4-8 p.m., and on Sunday, January 6, from 1-5 p.m., at Roz's home, the Portland House, 45 Eastern Promenade, in Portland.

Arrangements are being handled by Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home, Portland. Please visit for further information and to sign Rosalyne's guestbook.

To honor Roz's memory, the family asks that contributions be made to:

The Portland

Museum of Art,

The Rosalyne and Sumner Bernstein Scholarship Fund at Bowdoin College and

Congregation Bet Ha'am

Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Jan. 3, 2019
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