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Rosamond Roberts Arthur Dean dies: Advocate was 93

Rosamond Roberts Arthur Dean, a 65-year resident of

Rosamond Roberts Arthur Dean, a 65-year resident of Long Island, died July 15, 2016, of congestive heart failure. Dean, 93, worked more than 70 years on issues including housing and family planning. Credit: Arthur Family

As the daughter of a successful Wall Street attorney, Rosamond Roberts Arthur Dean grew up in comfort.

Yet friends and family members said the Lloyd Harbor resident was always conscious of her privilege and spent most of her life helping others.

“She just had a soft spot for people who were not as well off as she was,” said one of her six children, John Arthur, of Santa Monica, California.

Dean, whom many family members and friends called Rizz, died at home July 15 of congestive heart failure at age 93, Arthur said.

Dean was born in Southampton on Sept. 23, 1922, the daughter of George and Grace Lee Roberts. She grew up primarily in Manhattan, said another of Dean’s sons, Douglas Arthur of Cold Spring Harbor, where Dean lived most of her adult life.

Dean worked for more than 70 years on housing, environmental, family planning and other issues, serving on the boards of a number of nonprofits.

Her housing advocacy began in the mid-1940s, when she helped relocate some of the thousands of tenants displaced by the construction of a massive apartment complex on the East Side of Manhattan.

In the mid-1980s, Dean co-founded the Huntington Coalition for the Homeless, a group of area churches and synagogues that opened an emergency shelter and provided other services.

“She always was able to look at the person who was suffering, the person who was hurting in life,” said Lucy Fetterolf, 82, of Lloyd Harbor, who worked with Dean on the coalition.

Dean also was long committed to family-planning issues. She began working with Planned Parenthood in 1952 and later was a founding member of a Suffolk County abortion-rights group.

“I really think she was a feminist ahead of her time,” said Reina Schiffrin, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic.

Dean viewed family planning as a matter of equality and justice for women, especially for those less well-off than her, Schiffrin said.

“She really felt strongly that women should be able to make their own choices so they could have careers and go to college,” she said.

Larry Morris, president of the Quebec-Labrador Foundation, a conservation nonprofit based in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and Montreal, for which Dean was a board member, recalled Dean’s smile and upbeat nature and “the personal encouragement: ‘Larry, you’re doing great work. Larry the programs sound fantastic. Larry keep it up.’ It was always words of how well you’re doing rather than how you’re messing up. She was personally always there for us.”

Douglas Arthur said his mother was more than just a name on a list of board members.

“My mother was somebody who when she decided to commit to an organization, she was all in,” he said.

A memorial service was held Aug. 5 at Old First Presbyterian Church in Huntington, which she long attended. She also is survived by sons Stuart Arthur, of upstate Warwick, Donald R. Arthur of Albany, and James Arthur of Saratoga; daughter Lee LaPlante of Malibu, California; 15 grandchildren; and numerous stepchildren, step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren. Her first husband, Donald Arthur Jr., second husband, Tucker Dean, and sister, Constance Roberts Hoguet preceded her in death. Donations in Rosamond Dean’s name can be made to Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic.


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