Elena Rowson (née Elena Louisa Costabile) May 6, 1925 – December 8, 2021
Elena passed away early in the morning of December 8th at our home. For sixty-nine wonderful years we enjoyed sharing our love and life together. I want to share a little about her life that some of you might not know. While we always did things together Elena played the major role in raising our sons and running our households in New York and Cape Cod – our summer home for 52 years. Elena was known for her warmth, affection for our sons’ friends, and for bringing style and great food to the neighborhoods. Elena was able to begin a new career in health care and education when Peter and John entered their teen years. She applied her intelligence, efficiency, and clarity of vision as an administrative assistant at Long Island Jewish and to the Dean of Cornell Medical College. After several years in Manhattan, my career took me to Duke University and Elena gamely moved south, transforming a dark old house into a beautiful home for us. There she worked for the Director of Psychiatry at Duke Medical Center (who famously said “Once Elena is done with them my patients don’t need me”). Once retired, during our 28 years in Washington, Elena became an active volunteer. She manned the White House Comment Line under four presidents – both Bushes, Clinton, and Obama answered the helpline at the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill and helped select students from the former Soviet Union for a year’s residence in the United States. Her warmth, compassion, and loving understanding of others marked her success in these endeavors. Elena also became a loving “Nonna”, introducing her two grandsons to the joys of Cape Cod. Two and half years ago we left the life we loved in Washington, moving to a wonderfully vibrant community associated with the University of California Berkeley and closer to our family in San Francisco. Here she spent her final days warmed by the love of her family and supported by her new friends at our home in Belmont Village.
Elena and Dick Rowson and their two sons, Peter and John were an integral part of the Nauset Heights fabric.