May 10, 2013

Feature obituary: Murray Rosen, 85, Disney cartoonist, businessman, loved by many

By Melanie Creamer
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – One of the first things mentioned in today's obituary for Murray Rosen was that he died Wednesday with his wife, Shirley Rosen, and their friends by his side.

click image to enlarge

Murray and Shirley Rosen

Family photo


Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.

"We were not only husband and wife, but we were friends and we had fun together," his wife said in a soft, shaky voice Thursday afternoon. "There was never a dull moment. There was always something to laugh about."

Now, for the first time in almost 57 years, Mrs. Rosen is alone.

On Thursday, she found comfort in the memories of a life well spent together. She reminisced about their active social life -- having dinner with friends, attending weddings and bar mitzvahs, and taking cruises and regular trips to New York.

"We were supposed to go to New York for our anniversary," his wife said, which would have been May 27. "We had fun. We had a lot of friends. We had lots of good times."

Mr. Rosen, 85, grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. He graduated from Pratt Institute, then left the city to work as a cartoonist on the Dumbo project for Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif. He later returned to New York for a job at the former Famous Studios, which created Little Lulu and Popeye cartoons.

Mr. Rosen and his wife were married in 1956 and moved to Maine. They raised two children.

He operated the former Triangle Window Co. at Morrill's Corner in Portland for 20 years.

Mr. Rosen later took another job with J.C. Penney at the Maine Mall. His wife said he helped establish its electronics department.

Mr. Rosen was a beloved member of Portland's Jewish community. In his early years, he performed in theater productions at the Jewish Community Center. He was a devoted member of Temple Beth El and Etz Chaim, where he attended services regularly. He also attended services at Chabad and Shaarey Tphiloh.

In the past few years, he served as deputy registrar for the city of Portland at the Barron Center.

His wife said he was loved and respected by many people.

"Murray loved people and people responded to him," she said. "He made people feel special. His mechanic came to the hospital to see him and hugged me. He was sobbing uncontrollably. I said, 'Jimmy your making me cry.' Each person calling can't believe he is gone. He was bigger than life."

Mr. Rosen suffered a stroke less than two weeks ago at his home. His wife found him on the kitchen floor and called 911. He was rushed to Maine Medical Center. As the days passed, his condition worsened.

He died at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough with his wife and friends by his side.

His wife, so stoic and proud, broke down in tears twice while discussing their life together. She said she will miss their friendship.

"I don't know who is going to put my necklaces on," she said. "We were always together." 

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:


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