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Billy Joel’s Mother Dies

Rosalind Joel
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Rosalind Nyman Joel, mother of Billy Joel, has died at the age of 92.

Joel shared the news via his official site, posting an obituary that reads:

Rosalind Nyman Joel was born on February 15, 1922 in Brooklyn, New York, to Philip and Rebecca Nyman, who had emigrated from England. In a 1942 student musical production at City College of New York, she met Howard Joel, a German immigrant whose family had escaped Nazi Germany, in 1939. World War II would interrupt their courtship, but after Howard’s service in the U.S. Army, he returned and they married in 1946. Their son William Martin Joel was born in May of 1949. Later, the family adopted Judy, daughter of Rosalind’s late sister Muriel.

Rosalind and Howard Joel divorced in 1957, and as a single mother, she did clerical work for various businesses near the family home in Hicksville, Long Island.

In addition to an active social life, she supported various charitable endeavors. Progressing from her strong support in assuring his musical education, the son who would reach world renown as singer-songwriter Billy Joel used his grounding in classical music to help create one of pop music’s most enduring bodies of work.

His poignant song, “Rosalinda’s Eyes,” from the 1978 album, 52nd Street, is a tribute to her, derived from the family history.

Rosalind Nyman Joel passed away July 13, 2014 at the age of 92.

She is survived by son Billy Joel, and her daughter Judy Molinari; her sister, Bertha Miller; and her two granddaughters, Alexa Ray Joel, and Rebecca Molinari Gehrkin.

In lieu of flowers the family requests a donation to The Little Shelter in her name.

The Little Shelter
33 Warner Road
Huntington, NY 11743
(631) 368-8770

Newsday reports that Joel spent her final days in hospice care, “surrounded by her friends and family.” She was well known in the community, where she’s described as “supporting various charitable endeavors and enjoying an active social life”; she was also the namesake of the Rosalind Joel Scholarship for the Performing Arts, which Billy established in 1986 to commemorate his parents’ meeting in a student musical production at City College of New York in 1942.

“We always knew he was talented as a kid,” Rosalind Joel is quoted as telling Newsday at the 2002 opening of the ‘Movin’ Out’ Broadway musical based on Billy’s works. “Am I excited? Sure, it’s unbelievable…But I’ll tell you, after 30 years of this, you calm down after a while. To me, he’s just a very talented boy and a very good son.”

Next: See Other Rockers We've Lost In 2014

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