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Rose Ella 'Roz" Wolbarsht
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Obituary for Rose Ella 'Roz" Wolbarsht

Durham, NC: Ms. Rose Ella "Roz" Wolbarsht, 78, died peacefully after a brief acute illness on Sunday, June 4, 2017, surrounded by her family. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland, daughter of the late John William Zinkand and Rhea Ida Berlett Zinkand. She is preceded in death by her sister, Rhea Mildred Goodwin, and survived by her sister Joann Mary Zinkand-Benvenuti of Pistoia, Italy.

Roz is also survived by her daughter, Selah Anne Kaiser of Rocky Mount, NC; sons, Seth Elias Wolbarsht of Durham, NC, Jeremy Berlett Wolbarsht of Georgetown, KY and his family, grandchildren Luke and Aurora Wolbarsht, and great-granddaughter Ava May.

After graduating from Eastern High School in Baltimore, Maryland, Roz attended both the University of Hawaii and Beaver College. While raising her three children, she was involved in Hadassah charities, various educational initiatives, and creating a story-telling radio program that crossed many barriers. She was passionate about promoting access to reading and expanding cultural awareness, and spent many summers taking Bookmobiles to rural areas throughout the southeast.

Roz had an ongoing interest in education, and after retiring from an administrative position in the English Department of Duke University spent 15 years working with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She will be deeply missed.

Her unexpected death interrupted plans to move to Italy and work with her sister Joann, who sings and plays with a mainly charitable group, Trio Musicando. In lieu of flowers, donations are welcome to sponsor a memorial concert. Contact Joann directly or Selah at for details.

If you prefer to make a tax-deductible contribution, the family asks that donations be made to the author Louis Lenski's Foundation, which promotes literacy among underserved youth and provides grants to bookmobiles. Or perhaps the American Lung Association, - to honor Roz's request that everyone be told to quit smoking!

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 15th in the Chapel at Clements Funeral Service, 1105 Broad St, Durham. Friends will be encouraged to read a short prose or poetry selection as well as share their remembrances; suggested limit of five minutes.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Rose Ella 'Roz" Wolbarsht, please visit our Tribute Store.

Previous Events

Memorial Service




2:00 PM
Clements Funeral Chapel in Durham

1105 Broad Street
Durham, NC 27705

Memorial Contribution

American Lung Association

Louis Lenski's Foundation


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