Rose Rustin (b. 1932)

Rose Rustin was born December 22, 1932 on a dairy farm in Silverton, Oregon, the tenth of eleven children of Walter and Elise von Flue. Walter was Catholic and Elise was a member of the German Apostolic Christian Church. Rose contracted polio at 18 months forcing her mother to leave the house with her new baby. Rose was raised by her older sister. She attended Evergreen grade school to the age of 13 and then got her GED.

Rose worked as a nanny and then at the Silverton Hospital as a kitchen helper and then nurse’s aid. She began studies at Merritt Davis Business School of Commerce, which led to a job in the business office of the hospital. Rose had a falling out with the church and left Silverton in 1957. She moved to Portland and worked at the Portland Clinic as a medical secretary and eventually as secretary to Dr. Arnold Rustin.

After 12 years in Portland, Rose entered Mt. Hood Community College nursing school. She became very close to Jean Rustin, Arnold's wife, who introduced her to many things Jewish and cultural including National Council of Jewish Women (where Rose later became president). Jean Rustin died in 1971, and Rose and Arnold eventually married, and Rose converted to Judaism. She was president of Congregation Beth Israel, on the national board of NCJW, and a volunteer in many community organizations, including Neighborhood House. At the age of 62, Rose earned her bachelor's degree in humanities at Marylhurst College. She has written a book about her father's family (13 generations in Switzerland).