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Called “a woman before her time” in the eulogy by her son, Dr. Charles Vialotti, Jr., Rose Vialotti went to college even thought her father believed that women didn’t need higher education.
“She made the decision to proceed with her education, paying her tuition at Pace College by working, initially for the Progressive Education Association, and then as registrar at the Art Students League,” her son said.
Born Rose Blasco on Sullivan St. to Sicilian immigrants, she was raised in the same building on Waverly Place that the family of her future husband, Charles P. Vialotti, lived.
A bright and precocious student, Rose went to St. Anthony’s elementary school. She was skipped twice and graduated from the eighth grade in the same class as her sister, who was two years older.
“She was a friend of my father’s younger sister, who introduced them,” recalled her son. Their first date was at the old Loews movie house at Greenwich and Seventh Aves. — the current site of the “St. Vincent’s triangle.”
They were married on May 11, 1941, in St. Joseph’s Church on Sixth Ave. and lived on W. 12th St. There they raised their son and daughter, Lynn Harper, a Broadway actress who died several years ago at the age of 54.
Rose Vialotti did the billing and record keeping for her husband’s thriving Greenwich Village medical practice and was active in philanthropic groups, including the Italian Welfare League.
“She became known as an exquisite arbiter of fine taste and elegant entertaining,” her son said. “Her black-tie dinners at home and in hotels to mark special occasions were memorable and beautiful,” he said. “It was commonplace for mom and dad to return home Saturday evenings after a black-tie fundraiser with 10 or 12 friends and continue the celebration through breakfast on Sunday morning,” he recalled.
As for her husband’s enthusiasm for fishing, she accompanied him only once, her son said.
“The only other times she went into a boat was when we needed a spotter when my father took Lynn and me waterskiing,” her son recalled.
Her husband died Feb. 24, 2007, at age 99. He had retired only three years earlier.
“From her we learned honesty, integrity, commitment, self-sacrifice, generosity and we learned how to explore the arts and the world,” her son said of Rose.
Perazzo Funeral Home on Bleecker St. was in charge of arrangements. The funeral was on Tues., Feb. 21, at St. Joseph’s Church.