Harold Rothman names scholarship for his wife

Barbara Rothman
Orchestra Endowed

Sometimes an endowment is really a love letter.

Harold Rothman established the Barbara Rothman Orchestra Endowed Scholarship as a tender token of his love for his late wife Barbara, who passed away in late 2015.

Picture of Harold and Barbara Rothman.
The Rothman’s house is filled with family photos. This one stands next to the player piano she fell in love with on the showroom floor. When the piano started playing, Mrs. Rothman kicked up her heels and started dancing right there in the store. Mr. Rothman bought the piano on the spot.

Rothman, a spry 91, wanted to create a tribute that was enduring, life-changing and maybe just a little unexpected, not unlike the Rothman’s romance. “We were like teenagers,” he said. “But we were not young people when we married. I was 62. She was 58, both of us grandparents, both of us widowed. We were married just short of 25 years. I will never get over her. She was the love of my life.”

Harold Rothman 20161110 003 Web 1024X768
This blended family portrait features Mr. and Mrs. Rothman in the center. For years, they invited one and all to attend a Broadway show and lunch over the Thanksgiving holiday. Mr. Rothman said such elaborate traditions were important to Mrs. Rothman, whose generosity was legendary.

“I want to keep her name alive as much as I can. I didn’t want just a plaque on a hospital wall. I want whoever receives this scholarship to be happy and to remember my wife’s name.” 

Harold Rothman

Mrs. Rothman was wild for the arts—theater, opera, ballet, symphony. Mr. Rothman was her indulgent date, delighted to see her dress up, pleased to escort her every Wednesday to the latest show in New York. When they sold their place in the city about five years ago and moved permanently to Boynton Beach, Mrs. Rothman lost none of her enthusiasm for the arts. 

Art work in the Rothman home collected by Barbara.
The Rothmans were not only devoted to the performing arts, they also collected paintings and sculpture, artfully arranged in every room of their home. When asked if he had a favorite work of art, Mr. Rothman said, “Yes, I do have a favorite. But she’s not here anymore.”

She supported the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts and the Broward Center, but particularly loved the Lynn Conservatory of Music’s Philharmonia. 

“Even when she was sick, she always made plans to attend a performance. It was that important, that essential to her. She loved the arts.” 

Susan Nattis, Mr. Rothman’s daughter

Barbara Rothman sits on Santa's lap.
Mrs. Rothman was the kind of spitfire who had her giggly portrait snapped every year on Santa’s lap. Decades of her Santa pictures are displayed in a special frame on the Rothmans’ wall, a sweet story the local paper once featured.

The endowed scholarship in Mrs. Rothman’s name will provide financial assistance to deserving conservatory students in perpetuity.

“I want to know that students’ lives will be made easier and that they will have my wife to thank for that,” Mr. Rothman said. “I want them to say her name, to read her name on their scholarship so she is never forgotten.”

Harold Rothman shows family photos.
Mr. Rothman shows off family photos, lovingly placed throughout their home by Mrs. Rothman. “She loved our family,” he said. “I miss her every day.”
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