Alice Rosanes, a retired East Meadow English teacher and serial adventurer from Centerport, died Sunday after an undiagnosed illness. She was 80.

Although she grew up in Brooklyn, Rosanes went on to become an avid skier, sailor and road rally racer with her husband, Al, a retired engineer.

When their son Erik was a child, they skied every weekend through the winter and took sailing trips in the summer. On other weekends, they competed in road rallies -- timed competitions no longer popular on Long Island because of heavy traffic.

"She fell into bad company when she married me," Al Rosanes quipped. His company evidently proved satisfactory, as they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in April.

Born in Red Hook, Alice Rosanes graduated from St. Saviour High School, a Catholic school for women in Park Slope, and went on to study English at St. John's University. Because her father didn't believe in educating daughters beyond high school, she paid for her college education herself. Encouraged by her uncle, she spent six years working by day and attending classes at night to earn her degree, Al Rosanes said.

In 1957, she began working as an English teacher at what is now known as W.T. Clarke Middle School in East Meadow. She would become chairman of the English and Social Studies Department there, and in 1995, she was named an "Educator of Excellence" by the New York State English Council.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

She met her husband, a Chicago transplant, at the Long Island College Club, a singles group set up to accommodate the Island's population boom in the 1950s.

The two met, naturally enough, on a ski trip sponsored by the club. They were engaged for three years. "We finally decided on a ski trip. I said, 'I'm gonna take the plunge.' And sure enough, it lasted for 50 years," her husband said.

Alice Rosanes retired from the East Meadow district after 39 years, but couldn't give up teaching. She taught English as a second language through St. Hugh's of Lincoln Catholic Church in Huntington Station and worked with Literacy Suffolk.

Survivors include her husband and son, as well as her daughter-in-law, Amy Jane, of Huntington.

A wake was held at Nolan & Taylor-Howe Funeral Home in Northport yesterday evening, and Thursday from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Friday at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church in Centerport.