January 24, 2006
Rose Nader, 99, dies in Winsted
KARSTEN STRAUSS , Register Citizen Staff

WINSTED - Winsted resident and civic advocate Rose Bouziane Nader passed awayat her home Friday, Jan. 20, just 18 days shy of her 100th birthday.
Rose, who died of congestive heart failure, was the mother of former U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader.


She leaves behind two daughters, Dr. Claire Nader and Laura Nader, as well as a son, Ralph, who is renowned for civic activism and his multiple presidential bids.

Another son, Shafeek, was the principal founder of Northwestern Connecticut Community Co-llege and died in 1986, the family said.

Born in Zahle, Lebanon, on Feb. 7, 1906, she married Nathra Nader in 1925 and immigrated to the U.S. shortly after, settling in Danbury and then Winsted. She had been a member of Peace Action, Co-Op America, and president of the Shafeek Nader Trust for the Community Interest.

Rose was known for pushing for the expansion and preservation of the Winsted Mem-orial Hospital and for vehemently urging then-Sen. Prescott Bush to build a dry dam following the Flood of 1955, the family said.

She contributed to articles published in The New York Times, as well as the U.S. Postal Service Magazine.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author David Halberstam remembers Rose from time he spent in Winsted growing up and going to school with Ralph Nader. Halberstam’s mother, who taught in the Torrington school system, became friends with Rose.

"In the mid ’60s, back when Life Magazine was really powerful, they put Ralph on the cover for his auto safety stuff and my mother was very excited by it and she called Mrs. Nader. Mrs. Nader was a very, very modest lady, a wonderful lady. My mother called up very excited, and Rose Nader said, ‘Well, yes, I must go out and get a copy.’ My mother would have been buying out the newsstand," Halberstam said.

Journalist and former talk show host Phil Donahue also has fond memories of Rose. Donahue first met Ralph Nader in the mid 1960s when the young activist was a guest on Donahue’s call-in radio show in Dayton, Ohio, after Nader had published a book attacking General Motors, "Unsafe at Any Speed." Donahue, who said he was immediately taken by Ralph Nader’s commitment and tenacity, became a family friend and was a guest at Rose’s home in later years.

Nader appeared on The Phil Donahue Show more than any other guest and Rose appeared on the program, as well, to promote her book, "It Happened in the Kitchen." The book was a collection of food recipes, as well as philosophies on child rearing.

"She appeared to me to be forever upbeat," Donahue said. "She acted as though every day was a gift given to her and she opened it with glee and gratitude. She was as fine an expression of the human spirit as I have ever met, and I say this from my heart. This woman was so totally positive and happy and welcoming --she was the 20th century. She was, I think, a magnificent example of wife, mother, citizen."

Author, publisher and family friend Richard Grossman said that Rose had a combination of humor and wisdom.

"She was a remarkable woman and conjures up all the cliches about the great American dream as a immigrant person who came here in 1925 and spent her lifetime giving back to the country that accepted her," he said.

"One day, when I was about nine years old, she asked me if I loved my country," Ralph Nader said. "I replied that I did, whereupon she said, ‘Well, I hope when you grow up, you’ll work hard to make your country more lovable.’"

"She was not a person of many words, but her content contained much memorable wisdom," her daughter, Claire, said. "On child rearing formulas, Mom observed that ‘there is no recipe.’ On supporting each other, it was ‘operation cooperation.’"

Public Citizens’ Health Research Group director Dr. Sidney Wolf met Rose through his work with Ralph Nader.

"I got to know her over the years and realized what a powerful person she was and how predictably she had four children, all of whom were well-taught by her and carried forward her ideals," he said.

In addition to her children, Rose leaves behind a sister, Angele Bouziane Mokhiber; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1991. Memorial contributions may be made to The Shafeek Nader Trust for the Community Interest, P.O. Box 500, Winsted, Conn., 06098.

Karsten Strauss can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]



©The Register Citizen 2006