City official denies she ignored request for Florence Rosberg’s memorial at a D.C. lake

There is a memorial for Florence Rosberg in Taddle Creek Park in Falls Church. She drowned in a Virginia lake more than two years ago when her family’s recreational boat overturned while exploring the…

City official denies she ignored request for Florence Rosberg’s memorial at a D.C. lake

There is a memorial for Florence Rosberg in Taddle Creek Park in Falls Church.

She drowned in a Virginia lake more than two years ago when her family’s recreational boat overturned while exploring the state.

Officials scheduled the service but never made it happen. They moved the planned memorial to another park and told neighbors they couldn’t attend.

People outside the Park itself have few pictures or memories of Rosberg.

Terry McEachron wrote about the memorial several years ago when it seemed to be forgotten. She contacted and emailed city officials about the hold-up.

“According to several accounts, no one was aware of the memorial,” McEachron wrote. “There were no announcements posted about it at the park, nor could we find any info on this memorial over many months.”

Rosberg’s friends said they never got any notice from the city about the planned memorial, either.

The story faded to obscurity until City Paper reporter Mike Allen asked about it. City officials said the service was postponed. Some of the friends thought someone wanted a face for the memorial. They had no idea of the hold-up.

Reporter Veronica Henrichak pressed parks officials, who said they’d open the land only if the memorial was changed and a public meeting called. It would be too costly to buy a new site. They didn’t have $30,000.

The friends found their plans on the Internet. A Georgia lake was in the original plans.

“Florence was devastated when she found out she would have to go to Georgia to be laid to rest,” Marcia Bouchard said in a fundraising email. “She felt as if the city had forgotten her.”

The victims of childhood accidents usually have very little contact with family members, so it’s not unusual for members to be surprised to hear about a death from someone else.

Henrichak reported that the city told city employees to be cautious with the information they provide to the public. City officials said if they simply talk to friends or family members, there’s no guarantee they’ll remember to record it.

One person whose story led to a memorial at nearby Ft. Myer had a fine memory.

Rosco Plunkett was 10 when he fell off the first-floor roof of his grandparents’ house in Decatur, Ga. He broke both legs, a leg bone just above the knee and his hand. The top two fingers of his left hand had to be amputated.

Plunkett grew up with Rosamond’s little family.

He graduated from high school in Athens. He was trying to make it in the Marines when he suffered a second injury: he ended up in a wheelchair.

Florence Rosberg left Athens to become an educator. She’d teach at the Christian Academy at Farragut Park in Falls Church. But when she was 46, she was killed in the crash on which her family filed suit.

Friends first contacted The Washington Post when the site of her memorial disappeared from the site where it had been located for a short time.

After a long wait, they finally received a copy of a ledger showing that officials paid to bury her at Taddle Creek Park about a week after she died.

Bouchard said friends suggested not having a memorial at the park because it could bring attention to the boats there.

Said Bouchard: “It shouldn’t be glorified in that way. You can’t park your boat and just go swimming.”

City officials said the city bought the park property and right of way in 1992. A memorial was held there in 1994, before the 1995 acquisition. That memorial has been paid for.

“This just wasn’t in the budget at the time,” Sam Wheatley, the parks director for Falls Church, told The Post. “They certainly didn’t force us to do anything.”

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