Saddened by passing of Rose Varga

To the Editor:

I was so saddened to hear of the passing of Rose Varga. For everyone who knew Rose, the loss isn’t just personal—Rose was a major part of the Indian Wells Valley community. Those, like myself, who grew up in Ridgecrest know her legacy. There isn’t much in town, whether it be senior services, the transit system, the rehab hospital, various cancer charities or nameless other programs that were used to aid those in need or to improve community life in the IWV that Rose didn’t have a hand in creating, building or improving.

On a personal level, Rose was a great friend, especially to me and my family. She was proud of her Jewish roots and embraced the Jewish beliefs of community service. Her religious views, however, were as liberal as her politics. While Jewish, she married Catholic and raised her children as such. While very Democratic, she applauded people like Secretary of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.

Rose too was eccentric, witty and bold — traits she had in common with my mother, Josefa Alba Ros Dobbins. When the two got together, there was no telling what would happen, like the time Rose decided to host an international play and convinced my mother to dance the flamenco. The fact that my mother had only seen flamenco and never actually performed it didn’t stop either one from going forth.

Rose, too, had a very harsh and painful life. But very few people knew to what extent, as she didn’t dwell on the past nor did she allow herself to fall into pity. She always wanted to make life better for others. Like my mom, she too could be hard and critical on her children. But she was proud of them and all her grandchildren and great grandchildren, whom she spoke of often.

My mother passed away six years ago in April. Many others who Rose knew so well also started dying. As she got older and started to outlive those younger than herself, she wondered why she was still here. She felt she had done all there was to do, but God kept her here and she didn’t know why.

Her wonderful daughter, Sheila Lloyd, looked after Rose for years. As stressful as it was, Sheila felt blessed to have had her mother on this earth for so long. Sadly, Sheila died last year and perhaps it was then that God at last felt it time to take Rose. For just a few days ago, Rose left this earth, but not without leaving her mark.

There isn’t anyone else I have met in my life who so exemplified what it means to make a difference in the world. Through Rose I also came to know her daughter Sheila and her grandkids, Kathy, Michael and Leslie. I feel very blessed to have them all as friends.

Sheila and Rose will remain with me always. My prayers go out to Kathy, Michael and Leslie and to the entire family, friends and community of services that will feel the loss.

Trees have been planted in Israel, monuments have been named and buildings have been dedicated to Rose Varga in and around Ridgecrest, but none will compare to the wonderful gifts that await her now in Heaven where she can continue to shine. What a wonderful life, what an honor that I was a part of it.

Laura Dobbins

Story First Published: 2013-03-27