Kingswood Oxford Dean Dies After Car Struck By School Bus

WEST HARTFORD — Patricia Rosoff, the academic dean of humanities and a beloved art and English teacher at Kingswood Oxford School, died Tuesday morning when her car was struck by a school bus.

Rosoff, 64, who had taught at KO for 39 years, was driving east on Boulevard about 7:10 a.m. when the school bus, which was traveling southbound on Mountain Road, hit her 2000 Saab broadside on the driver’s side.

West Hartford firefighters had to cut Rosoff from the car. She was then taken to the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, where she was pronounced dead.

Police are still investigating the crash and asking for witnesses to call them at 860-523-5203.

Eighteen Conard High School students and the driver, Emmanuel Cruz, 23, of Manchester, were aboard the bus. None were injured.

Rosoff began her career at KO in 1975 and was known by legions of alumni for teaching the advanced placement art history course, said Michelle M. Murphy, a spokeswoman for KO.

“She was a giant in our community, and her loss is incalculable,” said Dennis Bisgaard, KO’s head of school.

“In addition to being a phenomenal teacher, [Pat] was a phenomenal artist,” Murphy said. Rosoff worked in seemingly every medium, Murphy said. “She was a painter, sculptor, quilter, printmaker, sketcher. She’d use every imaginable material – t-shirts, balloons, bits of yarn – in unimaginable ways, creating things of colorful and whimsical beauty.”

Rosoff was an art critic for the Hartford Advocate from 1994 to 2007 and had essays published in Arts Magazine, Art New England and Sculpture magazine, according to her author’s biography on the Tupelo Press website. Rosoff’s book, “Innocent Eye: A Passionate Look at Contemporary Art,” was published in 2013.

News of Rosoff’s death spread quickly among faculty and staff at Kingswood Oxford, but school officials waited until later in the day to make the announcement to students. Tuesday was the first day back after a two-week spring break, Murphy said. During that break, Rosoff had traveled to California to visit her son, a KO graduate, and her grandson.

“Pat was an artist in every sense of the word – an artist of color, words, people, and emotions,” said Natalie Demers, KO’s assistant head of school for academic life. “And, she was the ultimate student – she never wanted to stop learning new things. She truly epitomized lifelong learning. She is who anyone in education would aspire to be: She saw the good, and the potential, in everyone. We will miss her terribly.”

“She was so fun,” said junior Olivia Whirty, who was in a painting class taught by Rosoff last year. “She was always the one to laugh at assemblies. She was quirky.”

Rosoff lived in West Hartford and grew up Turlock, Calif. She was an abstract painter and received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design and a master’s degree from Hartford Art School.

Although she’d been at KO four decades, “she had a sparkle in her eye and a joy for living that made her seem far younger and helped her identify with students,” Murphy said. “She just loved teaching.”

Rosoff is survived by her husband, Neil, their son Jared, daughter-in-law, Betsy, and their grandson Arlo, 2½.

“Our hearts are broken for her husband and her son, and her grandson,” Murphy said.

Courant staff writer Julie Stagis contributed to this story.