November 28, 2014

Priscilla Fenn Roslansky

Priscilla (“Pucky”) Fenn Roslansky, PhD, of Woods Hole, Massachusetts died peacefully at home on June 14, attended by her family, after a long and courageous struggle with pancreatic cancer. Born November 24, 1925 in Rochester, New York, she made her home in Woods Hole since 1963. Pucky was a remarkable woman. Born into an academic family she carried that tradition through her life as a community activist, educator, and scientist.

Pucky broke ground in a number of areas. She graduated from Smith College in 1947. She then earned her M.A. as a member of the first class at Harvard Medical School to include women. Following her time at Harvard she earned a PhD in microbiology at the University of Rochester. Shortly before her death she received her 60 year pin from the Society of Microbiologists.

In 1952 Pucky married John Dale Roslansky and moved with him to Berkeley, California, where she started her family. She held research positions at Berkeley, in Copenhagen, Denmark and in Woods Hole at the Marine Biological Laboratory. She also taught at Rutgers University and the University of Illinois. After her children were grown she was the research director at the Associates of Cape Cod until she retired.

She served on the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals for many years and was a perennial Town Meeting member. She was a member of the League of Women Voters for more than 50 years, earning their Civic Achievement Award in 2010. She was an ardent Tai Chi practitioner and paddle tennis player who loved playing alto recorder with the Tuesday Tooters.

After her retirement she became associated with Falmouth Community Television as a volunteer community producer, where she made hundreds of videos on a variety of subjects including environmental, medical and other issues. She was the longtime series producer of The Turkington Report and The Falmouth League of Women Voters Candidate Forums. In recognition of her long standing volunteer efforts and community impact, FCTV named an editing suite in her honor in 2010. If she thought of a topic the town needed to better understand she promptly made a video on the subject to educate her community and improve the political discourse. She believed firmly that all politics are local and that if the people lead the leaders will follow.

In addition to her academic and professional activities, Pucky travelled widely. Outside of the polar ice caps it seemed there was no place on earth she had not touched. She travelled to Russia several times; China, Cuba, Chile, Patagonia, Morocco, Greece, Costa Rica, and the Galapagos were among her many journeys. The family spent a year in Denmark in 1959 and another year in Germany in 1969. While living in Germany she and her family travelled extensively through Western Europe and she enrolled her children in the German school system (despite opposition from the German educators!) for the cultural experience.

Pucky is survived by her four children, Louise Grosslein, John Roslansky, William Roslansky and Clara Hulburt. She has ten grandchildren: Martin and Anna Grosslein, Jocelyn, Christa and Tessa Hulburt, Sarah and Thomas Roslansky and Lily, Matthew and Kate Roslansky. Corinne Grosslein is her great granddaughter.

Pucky will be remembered for her gentle wisdom and courageous nature. It seemed there was nothing that deterred her once she set herself on a course, yet she had the rare gift of making all of her compatriots feel encouraged and sustained by her presence. She would calmly assess a situation, ask the group ‘what could go wrong?’ and set off on their chosen direction with a cheery smile and a rare sense of optimism and courage.

Services are scheduled for July 10 at 2:00 in the MBL’s Lillie auditorium, 7 MBL Street, with a reception to follow in the MBL’s Meigs Room at 3:30. Interment will be private.

Donations in Pucky’s memory may be made to Falmouth Community Television, 310A Dillingham Ave, Falmouth, MA 02540.