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Arlene Rae Taylor Rossini
August 1, 1921 ~ October 5, 2023 (age 102) 102 Years Old
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Rae Taylor Rossini died on October 5. The cause of her death was living a good life for 102 years. She was born in Massachusetts, raised in New Hampshire, and enamored of the town of York, Maine.
Rae was always on the move and considered travel to new places a primary requisite for taking a job. During World War 2, she left Portsmouth to work at a munitions factory in Lubbock, Texas, manufacturing bombs for the war effort. She had hoped to become a pilot and took flying lessons there but her eyesight was not up to the standards required. After the war she moved to New York and joined the newly formed Peruvian International Airways as an assistant to the president. She traveled many times to Lima in an unpressurized DC-4 prop plane, always flying through the weather, not above it, with stops in Havana and Panama. In New York part of her job was to entertain the families of Lima’s elite with nights out at places like the Copacabana and the Stork Club.
She took a job at WOV radio station, an Italian language station, and there met the love of her life, Giancarlo, an announcer who had recently emigrated from Rome. In the early ’50s they packed their bags, set off to Italy, and together traveled the country with a cumbersome portable tape recorder, capturing interviews ranging from Rome’s celebrities to residents of small villages. Rae made the recordings and helped write the scripts.
They had two sons. Rae raised them well, and Doug and Peter will always be thankful for the luck they had to have her for a mom.
Rae and Giancarlo’s partnership continued into the ’70s when they jointly managed a hotel in St. Maarten. Circumstances changed though and Rae found herself on her own, running a small guest house on the island of Saba. One of the attractions of the island may have been the thrill of the landing strip, the world’s shortest commercial runway, and one of the most dangerous. A forlorn wreck of a plane sat at the end of the runway as a warning to all. Rae enjoyed her time in Saba except perhaps for the night she woke to hear an intruder downstairs. She called the emergency number with no response. It turns out that the thief was, in fact, the police officer charged with answering the alarm. That and fishing bedraggled bats out of the small swimming pool made life in Saba somewhat out of the ordinary.
Rae was a woman of strong character and usually had her way. At the age of 100 she decided she wanted to move from Florida back to Maine. And so she flew back, on her own, in the middle of COVID, nearly blind. She always lived life as she saw fit and she chose the terms of her death as well. At 102 she was to be moved from her well-loved assisted-living apartment to a room with more care. She didn’t really want to move and so she didn’t; dying the night before the move was to happen.
Rae outlived most of her contemporary friends. She leaves behind her loving family; Doug and Liza, Pete and Gina, Meghan and Hal, and Bradley, Jenna, Bella and Ryder; all of us a little empty now, but fuller for the rest of our lives.
She has returned home from her travels to her beloved York and will rest in the cemetery behind the old church, next to her sister Betty, Betty’s husband Doug, and her parents Cyrus and Beulah. Rest in peace Rae.