Rockport – Roseann M. Rash of Rockport passed away in her home on Monday night, August 18, 2020, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Known to those close to her as “Rosie”, she was born in Meadville, Pa. on February 28, 1951 to the late Stephen and Frances (Dolinsky) Michaels.
A lifetime lover of learning, Roseann graduated Saint Benedict Academy in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1969 and then went on to receive her Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts from Goddard College in Vermont and then a Master’s in Education from Northeastern University. Rose continued to learn and study special education, psychology, the arts, and all interests that she had for the entirety of her life; getting certified in testing and learning disability education, and continuously enrolling in classes and seminars to further educate herself.
Rose started her career in education at Landmark School in Beverly during the mid 70’s, after which she spent a few years at Gloucester High School and Nuva Inc. -simultaneously – as a special needs teacher and tutor; in 1980, she began her tenure with the Rockport Public School System until her retirement in 2017. Starting first as a special education teacher at the elementary school and later as the special education diagnostician for the school system, Rose educated, evaluated, and inspired thousands of local students and later many of those same students’ children. Her career, coworkers, and students were something she cherished even after her retirement, when she could often be seen returning to the schools to support old students during special events or join a faculty party with her service dog, Billy.
In 2000, Rose was diagnosed with Spinocerebellar Ataxia 1, a degenerative disease that affected her mobility gradually. With little known about her disease, Rose set out to learn all she could in order to not only increase her own chances against the disease’s onset, but to contribute to the community of over 100,000 people affected by SCA1. Rose participated in many studies and medical trials as well as attending conferences to not only help her own chances but to help the entire Ataxia community.
Rose was a lover of the outdoors, dancing, and traveling, and as her mobility became more affected, she could often be seen riding her tricycle around town: volunteering for the Rockport Exchange at the Farmer’s Market, Motif #1 Day, and Harvest Fest; swimming in the local quarries; and having Sunday brunch at Nate’s with her devoted husband, David Rash, with whom she celebrated 40 years of marriage this past June.
Along with Dave, Roseann is survived by her three children, Anna Rico of Bradford, James Rash of Rockport, and Thomas Rash of Manchester, Ma. She also leaves behind her three beloved grandsons, with whom she cherished every moment: Cristiano, Luca, and Gianni Rico; her sister, Rita Nystrom of Sarasota, Fla., and two brothers, Bob Michaels of Tempe, Ariz. and John Michaels of Wilmington, NC. Along with many nephews and great-nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her brother, Thomas Michaels.
The family wishes to thank hospice of the north shore and their many close friends who make up their “Cape Ann Family” for their love and support.
A private burial will be held at Locust Grove Cemetery. Due to COVID, a memorial will be held at a later date, when we can all hug again. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the National Ataxia Foundation at Arrangements are by the Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington St. Gloucester. Online condolences may be given at:

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