On Friday, February 16th, the Lord reached out His loving arms to embrace Rosa (Cox) Kegler- Johnson after a long illness. We celebrate 61 years of love, service, devotion, and joy Rosa's life brought to our family and the world.
Rosa Ella Cox was a native of Alberta, Alabama, the sixth child of the late Herbert and the third child of Abell (Gooden) Cox. Rosa never accepted the term "half", "step" or "biological" when referring to her siblings, she celebrated being one of eleven children.
God blessed Rosa with a beautiful daughter, Jannita Kegler who embodies all the passion and talents of her mother.
Her love for family expanded as she became the Godmother to Alexandrea Blair, Shree Woody, and Lynaya Griffin (deceased) and God-sister to Aaron Nesmith, Marilyn Mathis, Gloria Cox-Windom, Dwan Jackson and many others. Rosa was God-daughter to Dawn Lewis (deceased).
Rosa academic accomplishments included graduating from Benjamin Franklin High School, 1973, an alumnus of Monroe Community College, and a 2013 graduate of The African American Leadership Development Program (AALDP). She was a hard worker and a valued employee. She spent 29 years with Eastman Kodak Company. She also worked for Xerox Corporation and MDS (Microwave Data System). She volunteered to advocate for the youth in her community. She was an active member of the NAACP where she volunteered to work with NAACP-ACTSO program to advance youth achievement. She also worked with the Urban League Black Scholar Program. Rosa was an asset to any company or organization to which she devoted her time and talents.
The Rochester Community benefited from the many contributions Rosa's dedication brought to the city. She was an advocate for health education, despite her health challenges. Rosa instituted ministries and programs to help others with their health challenges. She promoted healing through educational forums, resource services, health fairs, health awareness programs, and spiritual encouragement. Her work with the community to advance awareness for Scleroderma led to her becoming the recipient of the National Scleroderma Foundation's" Messenger of Hope" award.
Her advocacy for health led to the development of a ministry within Aenon Missionary Baptist Church, WITT (Women in This Together Support Ministry). The ministry is devoted to educating, uplifting, and assisting individuals with various health concerns. In February 2006, Rosa and the members of WITT (Women in This Together Support Ministry) conducted their first Crystal Gala to raise funds for Cancer, Lupus, Sickle Cell and Scleroderma.
Rosa was diagnosed with Scleroderma and became a leader in the fight to bring awareness, research and prayerfully a cure. She became an active member and advocated for the organization. She joined the local support group and soon began leading programs for the Scleroderma Foundation Tri-State Chapter.
On June 12th, 2004, Rosa and the members of the Rochester Scleroderma Support Group organized their first community walk for Scleroderma. She has since conducted 14 successful walks generating S275K plus for research. Her focus on health brought national attention to her work. In 2013, Rosa became a member of The Interdenominational Health Ministry Coalition (IHMC), which offers tools and resources for Health Ministries in the Rochester Community. She served on several committees including the IHMC executive board.
Not only did she organize programs to advance awareness of the many health issues which impacted the community, but she understood the necessity of developing our spiritual life. She worked feverously to advocate for a unique program that would advance Christian worship into another realm. She introduced to the community the first 24-Hour Gospel Extravaganza, a yearly event designated as a full day (24 hours) of praise and worship, non-stop. The 24-Hour Gospel Extravaganza was the product of her entrepreneurial spirit.
Rosa saw the lack of a comprehensive calendar for Christian Events in the Rochester and the surrounding communities. Therefore, she launched Spiritual Events Productions. Spiritual Events Production "SE Production" was a Christian organization which produced Spiritual events, fund-raisers, and a monthly Christian Calendar listing all the events in the area. She called the monthly calendar, "Rejoice" which she produced. Rosa knew Rochester's ecumenical community as she visited, called and mailed local congregations to get their calendar information posted on the monthly calendar. She typed and designed the Rejoice Calendar. SE Production, 24-hour Gospel Extravaganza, and the Rejoice Calendar were not a personal fulfilling project, but the output resulted in funds for students desiring to attend college. She also believed that the 24-Hour Extravaganza gave persons the opportunity to feed their mind, body, and soul. SE Production broke denominational boundaries and welcomed all to gather for worship regardless of race or denomination.
In addition to her family, community, and church, Rosa devotion to her friends was invaluable, and they seemed to increase in number over the years. Rosa was an outgoing individual who often witnesses and demonstrated her faith in God and encouraged others to experience God's love which supported her belief. Her greatest joy was spending time with her family and friends.
Her parents Herbert and Abell Cox, brother, Jeffrey Cox and sister, Juanita Cox preceded her in death. She leaves to treasure her memory, her daughter, Jannita M. Kegler of Rochester, NY; two brothers, James(Eunice) Cox of Athens, Alabama; and Kevin Cox of Washington, D.C.; six sisters, Joyce Burrell of Hyattsville, Maryland; Freda(Julio) Ware, Georgia; Marilyn(John) Sibley, Greece, NY; Cheryl (Eddie) Poole, Rochester, NY; Almetta Thompson, Katy, TX; Francis (Donell) Jones, Washington, D.C; many nieces and nephews, which includes Darian, Tonya, and Brandon Sibley; Edmond and Elliott Poole; Simone and Cameron Felton; two special aunts, Callie Mae Rowe, Washington, D.C and Ruth Tolbert, Germantown, Maryland; a host of loving cousins including special cousins, Virginia Grant, Rochester, NY , John Bennett, St. Mary's, Ga and Dorothy Irvin, Selma, Alabama; Sister-friends Loretta White, Greece, NY and Kabrina Bass, Columbia, South Carolina; many close friends including Kodak girlfriends of 35 years, Xerox girlfriends of 15 years, Scleroderma family, and Aenon Church members, and a host of other devoted family members and friends.
We shall never forget Rosa's faith, devotion and commitment to God. She reminded her family and friends that, "we all face difficulties in our lives; the issue is how to overcome the situation and be productive regardless of it."
We celebrate her life as one who believed, "Investing in others is like making a deposit in the bank. If you invest in others, you help to change our community, and assist individuals in achieving their dreams and once a person achieves their dream, they can go out and inspire others".
The Memorial Service for Rosa (Cox) Kegler- Johnson is Saturday, March 3rd at 3 p.m., Aenon Missionary Baptist Church, 175 Genesee Street, Rochester, NY, 14611, where Rev. Dr. Jonathan James H. McReynolds is the pastor. The community is invited to join friends and family in celebrating the life of Rosa.
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the Scleroderma Foundation Tri-State Chapter, 59 Front Street, Binghamton, NY 13905.
Please mail all condolences for the family to PO Box 92513, Rochester, New York 14692 in C/O/ Rosa Johnson.