IN MEMORIAM Rosa Tunberg

29/05/2016 § Leave a comment

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It is with great sadness that I wish to inform everyone who knew her that Rosa Tunberg, who worked for Reproductive Health Matters from  October 1999 to August 2007, died from cancer on 10 January 2015 in California.

Rosa was born on 5 February 1939, in Santiago, Chile, the middle of three sisters. Her father died when she was young. When she was 18, she left Chile with her mother and younger sister to move to Los Angeles CA in the USA. Her older sister stayed in Chile. Rosa studied comparative literature at UCLA and worked at Twentieth Century Fox, where she met Karl Tunberg, a Hollywood screenwriter, whom she married in 1968. She also became a stepmother to her husband’s two children, Terence and Thomas Tunberg. While raising her own two children (Carlos and Victoria) she earned her Montessori Primary Diploma in 1976 and began teaching. In 1978, the family moved to England. Rosa worked at Richmond College outside London for some years. She was widowed in 1992.

In around 1999, Peter Hall, who had been a scientist at the World Health Organization in Geneva, retired, moved to London and started an NGO called the Reproductive Health Alliance Europe. He opened an office for RHAE next door to Reproductive Health Matters in Kentish Town and advertised for a part-time secretary/administrator to manage the office. Peter showed me her CV and before he was even able to interview her, I jumped in and asked if I might interview her as well. Rosa agreed and was duly hired by us both immediately afterwards. Rosa was a bright, cheerful, highly skilled and exceedingly warm-hearted person with a sharp and thoughtful mind. She was able to do everything you might ask for and then some. She helped to promote and publicise the journal, and increase the readership, and worked closely with Paula Hajnal-Konyi, finance manager, and with me. She always had a twinkle in her eye and at the right moments, a witty retort on her lips. She worked unstintingly, expected a lot from others and gave a lot in return.

In 2007, she decided to retire, and she and Carlos moved back to Los Angeles to join Victoria, who had returned to the USA in 2004. Rosa remained active and inquisitive about everything and reconnected with old friends in Los Angeles. The three of them travelled when they could – to Hawaii, Italy, Northern California, Florida. Rosa fought the cancer for three years, and died peacefully and quietly. She remained strong, never showing suffering.

by Victoria Tunberg, her daughter, and Marge Berer

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