Nature 22

Rose J. La Rocca

September 3, 1921 ~ March 30, 2022 (age 100)


All family and friends of Rose La Rocca celebrate her life dedicated to compassionate hospitality. Rose loved her family in her home and Italian-American restaurant, both of Rhinebeck, New York. She passed away peacefully at home on March, 30, 2022 surrounded by loved ones.  She was a kind soul who generated warmth in the hearts of those around her.

Rose was born on September 3, 1921, in the “Roaring Twenties,” to Vincenza Forlenza and Giovanni “John” Marino at their home located at 116th Street, New York City. The eighth of nine children, her parents were immigrants from Italy. Rose grew up in Brooklyn. When she was a young girl, one Christmas, she unwrapped one of her gifts before the holiday, went roller skating in her new skates, and skillfully rewrapped the pair back into the box! In her youth, Rose enjoyed outings in Coney Island with family and friends. A fan of swing music, her older brother, John, taught her to dance the “Lindy.” During the summers, while a student at Public School 176, she worked her first job in an ice cream factory with her sister, Fay. When Rose turned 16, her mother gave her $500 to enter beauty school. She worked as a beautician, and after her marriage, she was employed as an AT&T telephone operator in Manhattan.

Rose met the love of her life, Edward Theodore “Ted” La Rocca when they were both in their teens. They never had eyes for anyone else. Ted enlisted in the Army in 1941, was discharged in 1942, and then was drafted in 1943.  On September 11th, 1943, when Ted was home on leave, they married at the Church of St. Rosalia in Brooklyn. They wrote love letters and sent pictures to each other throughout World War II, while Ted bravely served in the U.S. Army, deployed in Western and Central Europe. The two had a delayed honeymoon in Niagara Falls and went on to have two children, Mary Jane and Robert.

After the war, Rose and Ted were inspired by her elder sisters Felicia “Fay” and Maria Michela “Mae,” two successful restauranters. In 1955, Rose and Ted moved to Rhinebeck, NY and established the Silver Pine Restaurant (the name  of which was changed in the early 1970s to the Fox Hollow Inn). Together, they served American and Italian cuisine for 41 delicious years. Rose was the restaurant’s primary chef, having studied at the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park, NY. She specialized in pastries and desserts. She was famous for her cheesecakes and also designed stunning wedding cakes for customers. The restaurant operated until 1996 when Rose retired.

Rose stayed focused on life goals. She and her husband fully funded their two children’s college education and nurtured her children and grandchildren while operating the family restaurant. Rose was an exemplary mother.

Rose loved to bake and did so faithfully for The Church of the Good Shepherd in Rhinebeck. She made special cookies and pastries for friends, family, local community groups and even her doctors.

Rose stayed active throughout her life. She drove her car until she was 88 years old and was active at the Wellness Center of Northern Dutchess Hospital. She and her “gym buddies” would take turns every month picking out a restaurant for lunch. She always chose December and always chose Terrapin for their festive luncheon.

She loved birdwatching at home and admired red headed woodpeckers. When not entertained by birds, Rose enjoyed music, performances, and literature. Her favorite opera was Carmen. Bye Bye Birdie and Cats were her favorite musicals; Gone with the Wind was her favorite movie. She enjoyed I Love Lucy on T.V. and she was an avid reader of historical fiction. Her top shelf authors were James Patterson, Belva Plain, Ken Follett, and Philippa Gregory. Rose was such a voracious reader that family members resorted to only buying books published in the current year. She always had time to nurture her family or to comfort a weary traveler in search of a home-cooked meal. We will truly miss her love that spanned a century.

Rose was predeceased by her parents, siblings, and her husband, Ted La Rocca. Rose is survived by her daughter, Mary Jane Montalto of Rhinebeck; son Robert L. La Rocca and son-in-law Christopher S. La Rocca of Colonie; sisters-in-law Kay Marino of Flushing, NY and Jeannette Marino of Edgewater, NJ; and grandsons Christopher Montalto of Rhinebeck and Mark Montalto of Providence, RI. She leaves behind step grandchildren, Christopher S. and Shannon L. Rambo and one great step-grandson, Andrew S. Rambo of Wilmington, NC. Rose leaves behind many devoted nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations may be made to Hudson Valley Hospice in Rose’s name. All sympathy cards may be mailed to: Dapson-Chestney Funeral Home at 51 West Market St., P.O. Box 515, Rhinebeck, NY 12572. There will be a private family service held at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, NY on April 13, 2022.


A Celebration of Life will be held in Rhinebeck on September 10, 2022, The Terrapin Restaurant, 6426 Montgomery St. Rhinebeck, NY 12572.



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