Stephen (Stefan) Rozenfeld, a lifelong fan of both the Mets and Mahler; possessed of a beautiful tenor voice that glided as nimbly over classical songs and standards as it did scatting to Charlie Parker and other jazz greats; connoisseur of fine wine, good food, dark chocolate, and his favorite Brazilian cocktail – caipirinha; witty punster with a keen mind and memory; Rangers enthusiast; and devoted husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend; died on Monday, July 27, 2020, in New York City, from COVID-19 complications. He was 86.
Steve was born in Lodz, Poland, on March 7, 1934. On May 24, 1940, after fleeing Nazi-occupied Poland through Europe, he and his parents received visas to Portugal from Portuguese Consul General Aristides de Sousa Mendes in Bordeaux, France. Sousa Mendes, in defiance of the Portuguese government, issued these visas to the Rozenfelds and thousands of others in what has been described as perhaps the largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust. Sousa Mendes’s act of heroism saved Stefan and his parents from the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and allowed them to flee to Portugal and then to the United States. They docked in Hoboken, New York, on July 12, 1940, where Steve said “I began the happiest part of my life.”
As a teenager, Stephen attended Stuyvesant High School and spent summers at Pine Lake Park, a small bungalow colony in Westchester, where he was a camp counselor for many summers. There, he met and fell in love with Linda, née Schoengold, and they married on June 28th,1959. In 1962, they purchased their own bungalow where they raised their four children. An active member of the community, Steve hosted weekly audio concerts and discussions on his deck, and was an integral member of the Pine Lake Park Synagogue, where he filled the esteemed role of gabbai – assigning aliyahs, handing out prayer books, and keeping services running smoothly. He also played an annual exhibition tennis match, known as the French Match, where he and another cooperator wore berets, only spoke French, and drank wine during each court change. It was often the highlight of the summer.
Steve was the only son of Abraham and Eugenia, and nephew of Piotr and Sam. For many years, he worked at Titra Film Laboratories, a family-owned business subtitling and dubbing foreign films, and then Chambers Records, supplying classical and jazz music to colleges and libraries around the country. In retirement, he became a devoted scorekeeper for the Pounder’s Men’s Softball team, while keeping up a busy schedule of attending concerts in New York, and traveling to Seattle and Massachusetts to visit his many children and grandchildren.
Steve is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Linda, children Julie and Andy, Laurie and Kim, Paul and Julia, Karen, and Leah and Eric, and grandchildren Jesse, Danielle, Jaime, Chris, Jesse, Melissa, Peter, Max, Arielle, Eli and Jordan.