Barbara Galeski Rothschild
August 29, 1926 – June 25, 2020
Our beloved mother and grandmother, Barbara Galeski Rothschild, 93, died peacefully on June 25, 2020 in Columbus, GA. She was born on August 29, 1926, in Richmond, VA to parents Ruth Lowenberg Galeski and Walter Seph Galeski.
She was a grand lady of a great generation. She was something of a tomboy growing up, and she loved playing tennis and golf, building things, learning, reading, and spending time with friends and relatives, especially in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. She graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts in 1947 with a major in physics and a minor in math, and her first job after college was doing research on pulse jet engines, which involved experiments with a wind tunnel and calculations on a slide ruler. She fell in love with David Rothschild II, married him in 1949, moved to Greensboro, NC and then, in 1955, to Columbus GA, where she raised her four children. She loved being a mother and grandmother and also enjoyed being the matriarch of an extended family. She welcomed family and friends and acquaintances into her home, and she was like a second mother to some friends and relatives. She hosted many gatherings, large and small, and there was always room for another person at her dining room table. She was adventurous and she organized many fun excursions near and wide for her family.
Barbara was active in the community, and at various times she was President of Temple Israel, the Girls Club of Columbus, the Columbus Arts Council, the St. Elmo Elementary School PTA, the Phalo Study Club, the Temple Sisterhood, and the Temple Century (Study) Club, and she was also on the Boards of the Springer Opera House Arts Association, the national Girls Clubs of America, the Racial Relations Advisory Commission of the Columbus City Council, the Metro Urban League Board, the Network for Executives and Professionals, the Columbus Academy for Lifetime Learning (C.A.L.L), and the Muscogee Educational Excellence Foundation (MEEF). A fellow member of the Springer Board appreciated it that she was not a rubber stamp and that she held everyone accountable with her attention to the facts.
After some of her children left home for college, she enrolled in Columbus Tech, where she learned to be a machinist and received an associate degree in Mechanical Technology in 1976. She continued her university studies at the Mercer University School of Engineering and received an MS in Technical Management in 1990. She held five US patents related to automatic seatbelts and a three-way folding wheel chair.
She was a high school teacher of physics and chemistry for a couple of years before working at Lummus Corporation for 20 years, from 1978 - 1998, where she became a Safety and Risk Manager. She continually studied and learned new skills while at Lummus, such as learning to be a Certified Electroplater Finisher. After she retired from Lummus, she taught herself how to design websites, and she created the first website for David Rothschild Co.
Her husband, David Rothschild II, was on the Muscogee County School Board, and she supported his efforts to integrate the schools in the 1960s and early 1970s. After the School Board approved one of the integration plans, the Board members were advised to leave town to avoid the threat of arrest, and she helped us quickly pack up to drive to another state for a few days. During this time period, someone set a fire against the front of the house, and she calmly brought out the hose and put out the fire.
Barbara suffered from dementia for the last couple of years of her life, and she would not have been able to remain in her home, as she wanted, without the support of her son, David (who was her primary caregiver); family friend, Michael McLester; her many caring aides; her amazing occupational therapist; and her family and friends who visited.
She is survived by her children, Aleen Rothschild-Seidel and husband, Jurgen Seidel of Bethesda MD; David Rothschild III of Columbus, GA; Walter G. Rothschild, and wife, Cynthia B. Rothschild of Winston-Salem, NC; and John L. Rothschild of Elkridge MD; by her niece who is like a second daughter, Ann R. Kingsbury and husband John Kingsbury; by her grandchildren, Alexander Paul Rothschild, Kathleen Barbara Rothschild and fiancé, Gregory Knight, and Philip Seidel and wife, Elizabeth M. Starkey; by Ann’s children and grandchild, Ryan Stanford, Lauren Stanford and Maddy Novak; and by many nephews and nieces and cousins, all of whom she loved. She is predeceased by her husband of 60 years, David Rothschild II, and by her sister, Nancy G. Levy.
Contributions can be made to a charity of your choice or to the Community Foundation (www.cfcv.com or https://www.cfcv.com/Giving-Through-Us/Search-Our-Funds) with the donation earmarked for the Rothschild Leadership Academy (formerly Rothschild Middle School) or to Temple Israel Operations Fund or other fund, P.O.Box 5086, Columbus GA 31906.
Due to Covid concerns, a private family graveside service will be held on Sunday, June 28, 2020 at Riverdale Cemetery, Rabbi Beth L. Schwartz will officiate. The service will be available to be streamed through the Striffler-Hamby website at 2:00 p.m., www.shcolumbus.com.
- Aleen Rothschild-Seidel (Jurgen Seidel), Daughter
- David Rothschild III, Son
- Walter G. Rothschild (Cynthia B. Rothschild), Son
- John L. Rothschild, Son
- Ann R. Kingsbury (John Kingsbury), Niece
- Alexander Paul Rothschild, Grandchild
- Kathleen Barbara Rothschild (Gregory Knight), Grandchild
- Philip Seidel (Elizabeth M. Starkey), Grandchild
- Ryan Stanford, Great-Nephew
- Lauren Stanford, Great-Niece
- Maddy Novak, Great-Great-Niece
- David Rothschild II, Husband of 60 years (deceased)
- Nancy G. Levy, Sister (deceased)
- Ruth Lowenberg Galeski, Mother (deceased)
- Walter Seph Galeski, Father (deceased)
- Mrs. Rothschild also leaves behind many nephews, nieces and cousins to cherish her memory.
- Community Foundation
Temple Israel Operations Fund
P.O.Box 5086, Columbus, Georgia 31906
Private Family Graveside Service
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Barbara Galeski Rothschild
Jim and Sheryl Creek
June 30, 2020
We met Barbara and David In the 1970’s after we moved to Columbus through the sailing club and ski club and other community organizations. We would have lunch and see each other at the River Club. They included us at meals at Green Island. They were fun, engaging and guided us with wonderful advice. We always enjoyed their company and especially their friendship. Barbara was such a treasure to me me, a model of how you can be a mother and a successful woman. David hope to see you soon.
June 30, 2020
I worked with her at Lummus and she was always polite, always a lady and always very precise and detailed! She was an inspiration to never quit learning. I really hate she had dementia later in life. Prayers for your family, I know she will be missed.
Nancy Hamner Medlock
June 28, 2020
Aleen and I were inseparable in early grade school at St. Elmo Elementary School. I spent a lot of time at Mrs. Rothschild's home. She was loving and welcoming. As a child, I remember her as Aleen's mom. She was very modest and never boasted of all of her impressive accomplishments. Aleen and family, my sincerest condolences for the loss of such an amazing loved one.