Obituary - PHILLIP MARTIN ROSENBERG
February 5, 2021
Submitted by the family
Phillip Martin Rosenberg died on Jan. 18, 2021. He was born on Feb. 11, 1933, to Preston and Charlotte (Wallace) Rosenberg in New York, N.Y. Phil grew up in New York City and graduated with a degree in history from Hofstra University in 1955. Later that same year, he joined the U.S. Army.
His career in the Army took him to Nancy, France; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Aberdeen, Maryland; Viet Nam; back to Aberdeen and finally, after he retired in 1976, the family moved to Altamonte Springs, Florida.
While in Nancy, France, Phil met and fell in love with a young French girl named Paulette who was working on the U.S. Army base. Paulette was Catholic, but when she said yes to marrying Phil, she also said she would convert to Judaism. To do that, she had to meet with the Grand Rabbi of Nancy once a week to study. Always the gentleman, Phil would take her to the synagogue and then go across the street to a café in a hotel to get something to eat and drink while he waited for Paulette.
Also grabbing a bite to eat before going to work, were the local ladies of the evening. Anyone who knew Phil knows that he was a very sociable man, so it was, as Phil loved to tell the story, inevitable that he would strike up a conversation and friendship with the ladies. Swapping tales of their daily lives until he went to pick up Paulette, and the ladies went to work.
Phil and Paulette were married by the Grand Rabbi of Nancy, France in June 1957. They lived a full and exciting life experiencing the culture, food, and physical beauty of everywhere they were stationed. Every weekend and holiday they travelled with their young daughters exposing them to new cultures, languages, and history first hand. Teaching them that education was paramount, but not always found in a classroom.
When Phil returned from Viet Nam, he was told not to wear his uniform because it might put him in danger. He returned to a country that too often took their anger over the war out on the men and women who served. In his later years, Phil wore his Viet Name Vet cap with pride everywhere he went. He loved when people, often other Vets, thanked him for his service, shared stories, and asked questions. They would often share stories about Agent Orange-related illness which affected Phil and so many others.
Phil was a raconteur in every sense of the word. He was always positive, always had a story, and always had a smile. When you spoke with him, you were convinced he would live forever.
Phil is survived by his daughter, Sarah Geilen-Rosenberg, daughter Miriam (Jack) Rowe, granddaughter Rachelle (Nowy) van Hedel-Geilen, and a multitude of friends who will miss his stories and the twinkle in his eyes, all of whom will carry him in their hearts.
Arrangements entrusted to Beth Shalom Memorial Chapel, 640 Lee Road, Orlando FL 32810, 407-599-1180, http://www.bethshalommemorialchapel.com.