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Former Mayor Rosemary Stasek has died

Original post made on Sep 24, 2009

Former Mayor Rosemary Stasek, known locally as an exemplary public servant, passed away this morning in Afghanistan at age 46 from a heart attack. Stasek had been living in Afghanistan since 2002, where she founded a nonprofit in Kabul that sought to empower women through education.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 24, 2009, 2:01 PM

Comments (46)

Posted by Nick Perry, a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2009 at 6:12 pm

My deepest condolences to all of Rosemary's friends and family. This is such sad and tragic news.

In addition to her admirable work on the Mountain View City Council and in Afghanistan, I'll personally remember Rosemary as a champion of local youth. I was a teenager on the Mountain View Youth Advisory Group when Rosemary was on the City Council and our Mayor. She was such a friendly, intelligent, fun, and energetic person - a great role model for us local teens on "the YAG". She always went out of her way to hear our ideas and opinions and was eager to help us achieve our goals. She was a wonderful and positive influence during my high school years, I can't say enough kind words about her. I am deeply saddened by her loss and will always remember her and value the positive impact she had on my life. Rest in peace, Rosemary.


Posted by Jon Wiener, a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Rest In Peace, Rosey.


Posted by Bruce Karney, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 24, 2009 at 9:53 pm

She accomplished a great deal in a life that ended far too soon. She was brilliant, passionate, persuasive, and committed to service to others. What a loss this is for her husband, her parents, her friends, and the people of Afghanistan who she had been trying to help. Rest in peace, Rosemary.


Posted by Masood and Khalida, a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2009 at 10:41 pm

We want to give our condolences to the family and friends of Rosemary. She was one of the best human beings we knew. We will all miss her very much for the work she has done throughout her life. She made a significant impact in the lives of many poor people in Afghanistan. They will all miss her, and we have all lost a wonderful, caring, and compassionate sole.


Posted by Rameen Javid, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 12:29 am

I am still in shock. Rosemary, i just saw you a month ago in my wedding in Kabul. We wanted to invite both of you to our house. We are both deeply shocked and saddened. Thank you for all your kindness to me and all your great work for Afghanistan and the Afghan community. You are one of those rare foreigners who understood Afghanistan and tried to help in a way that contributes to the construction and integrity of the country and its people. Thank you! May you rest in peace!!!

Rameen & Nadima
Kabul - Afghanistan


Posted by Ann Rubin, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 1:13 am

This is very sad news. Our hearts go out to Rosemary's family and friends. This past February, the afghans for Afghans project hosted Rosemary in a program at the American Friends Service Committee building for the San Francisco Bay Area community. We were so honored to have her company and hear her first-hand experiences in Afghanistan -- helping people survive and rebuild. She showed us slides, told us stories about real people, and spoke frankly so we could better understand current events. She really seemed to enjoy the Q&A and all the points of view. What a generous woman. She had such verve and obviously extreme talent and capability to gets things done and accomplish so much. May her memory be a blessing.

-- Ann and volunteers, San Francisco


Posted by Jamil Shaikh, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2009 at 2:03 am

It is not fair. It is just not fair.

I have known Rosemary since her first term on the council. I will always remember her big smile and her eagerness to listen and help any one she met. I am sure that all of us are aware of her accomplishments here in Mountain View and abroad. I am deeply saddened by the loss of a friend and I will remember her fondly.

The world has lost a great soul. Rest in peace, Rosemary. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un.


Posted by Kim O'Connor, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 7:53 am

I want to extend condolences to Rosemary's family and close friends from myself and all the volunteers and staff at Afghans4Tomorrow. What a tragedy for all, including all the Afghans she was so dedicated to helping. May she rest in peace.


Posted by Carolyn Press Landis, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 8:26 am

Shocking, sad news! Rosemary - we will all miss you. You have been an inspiration to so many of your friends and colleagues on the President's Council of Cornell Women. Rest in peace.


Posted by Kathy, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 25, 2009 at 9:05 am

Needles to say this is shocking and very sad news, Rosemary accomplished so much in her 46 years, she was a unique person who made a difference. Our condolences to her family and friends.


Posted by Stephen McNeil, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 9:54 am

The American Friends Service Committee Pacific Mountain Region extends its condolences to the people of Mountain View, Kabul, and Afghanistan. Rosemary was a true humanitarian and such a spirit and force of nature that it is hard to fathom her absence. May her husband and family find solace in the lives of the people she has touched so deeply.


Posted by Julie Muir, a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 25, 2009 at 10:00 am

My condolances to Rosemary's family. What a loss to our community. Rosemary was someone I admired for her ability to define her vision and accomplish it. I am grateful to her for her energy and passion that she gave our community as well as to the Afghan women and girls and their community. Thank you Rosemary for providing inspiration to so many. Rest in peace.


Posted by Jill Siegel, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 10:06 am

I am stunned and so very saddened by this news! I always looked forward to seeing Rosemary at President's Council of Cornell Women or other Cornell events. I have been in awe of her passion and guts for all of the years I have known her ... and losing her leaves a hole in the hearts of many.

Rosemary ... I will miss your smiling face, your colorful and funny stories, and your incredible energy spent helping others.

You will not be forgotten.


Posted by Anita M. Harris, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 10:10 am

I live in Cambridge Massachusetts and knew Rosemary through the President's Council of Cornell Women. I found her work in Afghanistan inspirational; her passing is a huge loss for the world.


Posted by John, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 25, 2009 at 10:30 am

Rosemary's commitment and dedication to Afghanistan and to our city was tireless and persistent. I hope our city will honor Rosemary in all that she accomplished. She was an inspiration!


Posted by Julie Crotty, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 10:41 am

This is very sad and unexpected news. I send my condolences and love out to Rosemary's husband, family, and loved ones. She touched and inspired so many people. We graduated from Cornell the same year and I got to know her through her work on the President's Council of Cornell Women. Even in Afganistan, she built, organized and updated our web pages for years. She attended our annual meetings each Spring and we always looked forward to seeing her. She shared such a fascinating perspective and truly inspiring energy and compassion. Rosemary was a bright light in this world. We will all deeply miss her, always remember her, and strive to continue growing from her example. Bless you Rosemary and rest in peace.


Posted by Ellen Wheeler, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 25, 2009 at 10:49 am

What sad news. Rosemary was an extraodinary model of public and private service. My condolences to her family. We are all poorer for her passing.


Posted by Henry in Abu Dhabi, UAE, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 10:56 am

Rosemary's passing is the saddest news I have had this year and while I have been able to speak with her husband Morne' in Kabul to try and express my feelings of grief, I would like to take this opportunity to offer my condolences to her family and friends in both the US and Afghanistan.

It has indeed been an honour to have known her and if ever there was an angel on earth, sent to look after, take care of and speak out for those who had no voice, it was Rosemary!

I was so much hoping to again be able to see her smiling face after we had last seen each other briefly during their recent visit to South Africa, but it was not to be.

Rest well Rosemary, for you have indeed deserved it.


Posted by Cindy Froggatt, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 11:12 am

Heartbreaking news about a generous, courageous friend. I am so glad to have met Rosemary through the President's Council of Cornell Women. I am grateful that she was willing to talk about the work that needs to be done in Afghanistan and show how a little bit of money, can make a big difference. I wish she had been given more time here - to share her passion and energy with even more people. My deepest condolences to her husband and family at this time of profound loss...


Posted by Lorraine Heffernan, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 11:38 am

I also met her through PCCW (Cornell). I am so sorry. This is a loss for her family and our whole community.


Posted by Gloria Lang, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Rosemary taught so many that one person can make a difference in the world and in one's community. President's Council of Cornell Women was energized by Rosemary during her quest to help others. She is smiling on us. In her memory, I will do a little more to help others each day.
May peace be with you Rosemary.


Posted by Jeffrey Dennison, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I met Rosemary through public policy but soon learned that although a skilled policy maker, she was much more. Her work in the Bay Area and in Afghanistan inspired me. No ordinary politician and no ordinary lady. Someone very special indeed.

Jeff Dennison
Washington State


Posted by Jon Claerbout, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 2:11 pm

She was a deep personal friend of our family. Please wait a couple days, then look for Rosey on youtube. I have an old video of her speaking that I will attempt to bring on-line.


Posted by Sylvia Dickinson, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Perhaps she is still guiding us, even in death, to continue the work she had begun in Afghanistan, a cause that she felt was worth dying for.


Posted by Sue DeGraba, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 2:58 pm

What a loss at a time when the world needs more people like Rosemary. She was a courageous and caring woman. I'm a friend from her Cornell activities. She will be missed.


Posted by Babak A., a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 5:05 pm

I wish to convey my deepest condolences to Rosemary's family. She became a friend when I wrote her about Silicon Valley housing cost and market crash concerns when she was mayor. She invited me to lunch and instantly I became a volunteer for her re-election campaign and we kept in touch all these years. I ran into her some few months ago during a USA visit and enjoyed hearing her speak Farsi with me. What a lady! She will be missed. I am sure with what she has done, she had reservations in heaven.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2009 at 5:45 pm

This is terribly shocking -- a good person being taken so young. One of my few one-on-one interactions with Mtn. View government was with Ms. Stasek during a call-City-Council-members campaign about a development some residents opposed. I reached her at her home on a Saturday morning and she could not have been more gracious with her time, as though I was a long-time friend just catching up. I've since read about her work in Afghanistan and admired her very much for it, but not until I read today about her passing did I understand the extent of that work. The world has lost a good soul, one whose work, we hope, will live on.


Posted by Karen S. Ullah, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 6:09 pm

I wanted to let Rosemary's husband and family know how sad I am to hear of Rosemary's death. This is about the saddest bit of news I have read about for the whole year. I just adored her when I heard her speak two times at the Belmont public library. I can't imagine how one person could do so much for so many people in such a short time when she helped all those Afghani women in Kabul. I wonder who will take over the work she has left unfinished. I feel so sad for her husband as they were married such a short time.


Posted by joel, a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 25, 2009 at 7:38 pm

This is a terrible strategy and a huge loss for the people of Afghanistan. I just hope there was not foul play involved. The Taliban breed great resentment for women taking action, and they are adept at the use of poisons to eliminate their enemies. It just seems so odd that she should have succumbed to a heart condition at such a young age.


Posted by Kathy Thibodeaux, a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 25, 2009 at 9:59 pm

I am shocked and saddened. Rosemary was a brilliant and passionate woman who made a significant contribution to Mountain View, and in the lives of women in Afghanistan. I always enjoyed the reports in the Voice about her activities. I will miss her greatly.


Posted by Amy Sugarman Perlin, a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2009 at 2:00 am

My deepest condolences on Rosemary's passing.This is such a tragic loss for her family and friends, and also for the world she influenced so significantly each day. She and I met through PCCW, and I have looked forward to seeing her and hearing about her global adventures at our meetings and through her fascinating communications to the group. Her life was a true inspiration, and I will miss her.


Posted by Laura Wilkinson, a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2009 at 7:49 am

Hearfelt condolences to Rosemary's husband and family. Rosemary truly was inspirational in her dedication to helping people. She will be deeply missed by her friends and colleagues in the Cornell University community, including the President's Council of Cornell Women (PCCW). Rest in peace Rosemary.


Posted by Diane Claerbout, a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2009 at 8:54 am

This is devastating, not only for her friends but for everyone and particularly Afghanistan. She was an amazing woman.

I just reread my last e-mail from Rosey and she talks about the visit she was planning in October and what we would do together and then the people she would see, etc. She had so many plans.

It is too hard to write now.

This is a great CNN video with Rosemary about the lunch bunch in Kabul

Web Link

Diane Claerbout


Posted by Liz Altman, a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Dear Family and Friends of Rosemary,
I knew Rosemary only peripherally through our membership on the President's Council of Cornell Women, but I remember always being inspired when she spoke about her important and necessary work.
May you find strength and peace during these very difficult times, and take comfort in the memories of your times together.
With sincere condolences,
- Liz Altman


Posted by Laura Macias, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 27, 2009 at 3:45 am

Losing Rosemary is just wrong. Like many people, close friends and admiring acquaintances, I try to make sense of it. When Rosemary rocketed to city council election in 1996, she did not disappoint. Rosemary was a brilliant politician and strategist. She found solutions where there seemed to be none. Rosey was unafraid to wade in where the civic waters were deep and dark. Once in deep water, she was able to find the "land", and more than one way to get there. She was also a homey soul who canned, cooked and shared those talents generously. During the last of her eight short years on City Council including a remarkable year as Mayor, she ran for Assembly in a crowded competitive race for the Dem primary. She was neither the favorite son; nor the savvy politico but she was determined to be Rosemary and give it her best try. I remember going to her house for an evening of volunteering. It was as much about conviviality as it was about stuffing envelopes.
The next year, Rosemary was headed to Afghanistan, packing up her small apartment. I was over to help a small bit. Most everything was packed, but there was some work to do still. We packed the rest, during a time when friends came by, called, came by, called, came by. It was so clear how loved and respected Rosemary was/is.
While her life in Afghanistan took on epic stature for all the wonderful, extraordinary work she did there, I think admiringly, fondly of what a difference Rosemary made to Mountain View. My heartfelt sympathies to her family, Mom and Dad and Morne, Dennis, Paul, Usha and Hannah.


Posted by Leslie Wilson, a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Dear family and friends,

I knew Rosemary through the years from our celebrations of life and unending prayers of hope for Afghanistan at the Catholic chapel inside the Italian Embassy in Kabul. Rosemary was an enthusiastic member of our ever-evolving worship community there, and I know that Father Moretti, the sisters, et al. will miss her participation in their liturgies as much as the Afghans who benefited from A Little Help will. I will keep her in my prayers always.

Leslie Wilson, former Country Director, Save the Children/US in Afghanistan


Posted by Shana Nelson, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2009 at 3:47 pm

What a terrible loss, we were very lucky to have had the opportunity to have her in our community and will miss her deeply. Very shocking news. My deepest regrets to her friends and family here and abroad.


Posted by resident, a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Rest peacefully ,mayor Rosemary Stasek.


Posted by Mary Flynn, a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2009 at 6:50 pm

I am saddened to hear of this terrible news. I was lucky to hear Rosemary speak in Boston last winter and was amazed and impressed with her courage and her dedication to the people of Afghanistan. Her projects were small, but made such a difference in the lives of those she touched. I only met her that once, but she made an impact on me and the way I see the world. She has been in my thoughts and prayers over these last months, particularly since the violence in Afghanistan has escalated. My sincere condolences to her husband, her family and to the members of the Cornell and Mountain View communities who knew her well. Her passing is a tragic loss.


Posted by Lawrence Vallandigham, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 29, 2009 at 1:38 pm

With sadness, my wife and I received news of Rosemary's untimely passing. We had the good fortune to work with her during the Home Depot/Emporium voter initiative which resulted in the Palo Alto Medical Foundation construction at our City's gateway. She was and will remain a source of optimism and cheerfulness in our hearts.


Posted by Cecil, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 29, 2009 at 6:05 pm

This is truly a tragedy and a great loss.

I feel the best way to honor her is to support the sending of more troops to Afghanistan to clean the country up and make it a better, more secure place for women.


Posted by Joan and Wally MacDonald, a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 2, 2009 at 1:44 am

Oh, Rosemary, we still can't accept that you're gone. You did so much for so many in your too short 46 years -- so much more than most do in twice that many years. The results of your passion, persistence, energy, creativity and guts helped so many girls and women in Afghanistan in such a remarkably short time. What a difference you made. Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small committed group of people can change the world; that's the only way it ever happens" You've proved that ONE person can and did. Here ... and there.
And you did it all with grace, humor and your radiant smile that brought out the sun even in the darkest day.

Our deepest condolences to Morne and Rosemary's parents and dearest friends.

We have to hang on to Rosey by doing more for others... to carry on her passion.


Posted by Karen Jewett, a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Rosemary was an inspiration.


Posted by Gail Slocum, a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2009 at 10:49 pm

I knew Rosemary from public service, and interviewed her on a Local Cable channel show about her initial work in Afganistan. She brought light and inspiration to so many. She lived her values. And she was so courageous. Let her memory be a blessing and her life be a teaching to us all. I am sure she is still guiding much good and lifting up many world changes even though she is not physically with us any more. Viva Rosie!

Gail Slocum
Former Mayor, Menlo Park


Posted by Elna Tymes, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I'm so sorry to hear of Rosemary's death. She was a shining example of someone making a difference in the world. I was privileged to watch her behavior as a member of the City Council when I was just learning how Mountain View worked, and was sad to see her leave.


Posted by Jon Claerbout, a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I recorded her promoting her Afghanistan charities.
Web Link
Delightful! (and educational)


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