In Memory of Rosalie Calabrese
Heather Furlow shares her meaningful connection with the late Rosalie Calabrese.
I met Rosalie Calabrese at a GlamourGals makeover on a sunny day in March 2016, when she was 78 years old and I was 29. Rosalie was the first person I approached, and it seemed like it was meant to be: We connected immediately over our love of writing. She was easy to talk to, and I liked how she spoke her mind, laughed easily and had a wry sense of humor.
We exchanged emails and stayed in touch after the makeover. I would stop by her apartment after work sometimes and we would talk about life, love, politics… anything and everything. She even invited me to march with her and her friends at the Women’s March in January 2017, an experience I’ll always remember.
A few months later, GlamourGals Founder Rachel Doyle invited Rosalie to take part in a special photo shoot for O, The Oprah Magazine, for a story that spotlighted Rachel and the positive impact she’s made with GlamourGals. They were glammed up and dressed up in the most beautiful gowns. Ahh, the look on Rosalie’s face that day in the selfie the two took together on set! Such joy.
After that, Rosalie was a VIP at nearly every GlamourGals event, speaking on panels at the GLTI and singing, “Who the run the world? Girls!” at the Glammy Scholarship Awards podium with host Allegra Cohen. GlamourGals presented Rosalie with the Inspiration Glammy Award in 2018, which honors an influential individual who’s made a positive impact in their community.
My friendship with Rosalie is a testament to the power of GlamourGals. When so much of our culture focuses on youth and staying young, GlamourGals reminds us that there is value in getting older, and that great friendships are about much more than age.
Meeting Rosalie, becoming friends and bringing her into the GlamourGals community changed both of our lives in the most wonderful ways. I believe it brought new levels of meaning and importance to her life. (I know it did for me.)
Rosalie passed away about a week ago from pancreatic cancer. She was a poet, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a management consultant for the arts, a New Yorker, and yet, of course, she was much more than any title can convey. I am forever grateful for our friendship and her presence in my life.
Whether you’re a volunteer, a board member, a supporter or a friend of GlamourGals, know that your time volunteering and your support has lasting ripple effects. You’re part of a movement that creates a foundation for incredible friendships, and love and support for the elderly, that is unique and very much needed in our world today.