Florence Moel

Florence Rosenstein Moel 3/26/1914-3/06/1964

Family: Florence was the daughter of Nathan and Mary Rosenstein (pronounced RosenSTINE). She had four siblings:: Abraham, Eva, Ricky (Ray) and Florence. There is family speculation that there was a fifth child, Benjamin, who died as a baby and was buried in an unmarked grave, according to grandson Robert Rosenstein, but he’s not sure.

Florence was the baby of the family, but of the four children she died first, of cancer. She grew up in Durham with her two brothers and one sister, and “broke her father’s heart” because she went part way through college but dropped out to get married, according to Robert Rosenstein, her nephew.

She married Leon Moel, and they lived for a time on Vista Street. Her husband sold drapes and carpeting, but they later moved to St. Louis, where she raised her children, Natalie, Morton and Susie.

When she got sick with cancer, she came back to Durham, and stayed with her brother Abe and his wife, Wilma. Leon had to stay in St. Louis to run his business and take care of the rest of the family, so she was taken care of by Wilma, who was a nurse, in the childhood home on Cleveland Street. She stayed there for about a year and half before she died.

The four siblings were very close, Robert says, even after two of them moved away from Durham.

"Ricky and Florence -- if they liked you, it was great. But if they didn’t like you, well, I don’t think it was the most pleasant place. And if both of them ganged up on you, it wasn’t a fair fight," Robert said. "And they were not bashful about telling you what they thought -- it’s a Rosenstein trait -- and they would be happy to let everybody know. The more agitated they got, the louder they talked."

Florence was buried with her sister, who was named Ray but called Ricky, and brother-in-law George, but according to Jewish law there was a space left between her grave and George’s.

“And we say, ‘It’s a good thing that Ricky and Florence aren’t next to each other because they’d be talking forever,’” Robert says.