“How fragile we are.”
A tribute to Rosemary Corbett, who died last week.
Rosemary was a friend, colleague, and mentor. We taught together for almost two decades at Havergal College. She was a gifted English teacher, department head, and vice principal. And she was kind, so very, very kind. During my first husband’s illness and death, Rosemary was a beacon who helped me navigate. She was one of the angels who brought us casseroles.
At school, we often worked together, especially on hiring and curriculum committees. She was always even-handed, calm, and insightful. In a hiring interview, her questions were probing, eliciting answers that got candidates hired – or not.
As vice principal, she made it one of her goals to create a school culture that was supportive of everyone’s growth. She coined the word “hecticity,” meaning the needless activities that diverted a school’s attention from its main goals: to teach, to guide, and to inspire. The word stuck and became part of Havergal’s lexicon.
I admired the professional Rosemary – the teacher, the innovator, the resolver. It was the human Rosemary, however, who earned my love. She was a loyal friend, a sparkling conversationalist, an excellent listener, and a trusted confidante. Her travels, erudition, and humanity made encounters with her thought-provoking and inspiring.
Her devoted husband must be devastated. He has lost his trusted soulmate. His daughters have lost their loving mother. His grandchildren have lost their adoring grandmother.
And I have lost my friend.
May those of us who love Rosemary keep treasured memories of her in our hearts as we struggle with her death. And may the following photographs take us to a place of healing and gratitude.