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The Official Site of the New York Islanders

Rose Marie Koch

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

Aunt Ro was the most interesting, exciting aunt we could ever have asked for. She was never married, never had kids and as a teacher, spent her summers traveling the world and going from one exciting adventure to the next. She was a Girl Scout leader for many years and traveled to Japan, England, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Iceland on trips with the girls.

Each time we saw her, she would have countless stories to tell, photographs to share and gifts for her nieces and nephews. As a music teacher, she inspired many, including her nieces and nephews, to become musicians – and to have fun playing. We spent many holidays forming a family band and my holidays will always be filled with memories of Aunt Ro and her joyous music.

During summer vacations, she would plan the most exciting adventures for my cousins and myself.  We would take long walks through the woods and built bridges into the swamp to pick Cattails. We would stand on the dock and sing in the rain and she taught us about the stars. She would dress in her clown costume and perform tricks and make balloon animals during our annual sleepovers. We made “tinfoil surprise” in a backyard fire pit and sang campfire songs and performed skits.

In 2006, while spending the year teaching in England, Aunt Ro was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer, which had metastasized to her lungs and liver. The prognosis was not good, but she packed up and came back to the States. She spent the next three years living her life to the absolute fullest. She continued to teach for almost two years, until she was physically unable to continue. Leaving her students and colleagues was the most difficult decision she had to make.

Amidst chemo treatments, radiation and many other drugs, Aunt Ro had the most inspiring attitude and always kept her amazing sense of humor. Nothing got her down. She continued to travel, focusing on those places she wanted most to visit, and spent many hours with her family and friends. She continued to lead us on adventures and these memories will stay with us all for the rest of our lives.

Even when in pain, she was able to maintain a positive outlook about her life. Unfortunately, Aunt Ro lost her battle to cancer on March 23, 2009 but she has left her legacy with so many people that she has touched in her life.

No one will forget….
your smile with those bright eyes,
your laugh and all the fun times
your caring and sharing...

Jennifer Koch

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