Adena Rosenthal, Ph.D., passed away in her happy place, her home in Nahant, on October 6, 2020, due to complications from metastatic melanoma. She leaves behind her husband and soulmate Benjamin Zack and her four feline babies, also of Nahant, her parents Judith and Michael Rosenthal of Peabody, her loving sister and brother-in-law Deborah Rosenthal and Mark Ruelle, and her three nephews, all of Melrose. The days leading up to her passing were filled with love from her family and her friends whom she considered family.
Adena was 50 years old. She was born on February 21, 1970, in Buffalo, N.Y., and grew up in Malden, where she graduated from Malden High School. She went on to get her bachelor’s degree in psychology at New York University and her doctorate in clinical psychology at Bryn Mawr College. While she was successful both academically and professionally, Adena was not defined by her career. Instead, Adena defined her career by paving her own path. Following her postdoctoral fellowship in child psychology at Boston Children’s Hospital, Adena set her sights on the pharmaceutical industry, where she most recently held a senior clinical scientist role.
Adena’s worth was based on all that she gave back to the world and through her passion to live life to its fullest. She was particularly proud of her decade as a volunteer therapist serving immigrants and asylum seekers. Adena changed her friends’ lives. With a sharp tongue and razor wit, Adena cut straight to the point and gave her friends the strength and clarity to make big changes in their own lives.
She wasn’t bound by convention and often found it antithetical to her own happiness. She had a fierce belief in right vs. wrong and always chose honesty over the easy road.
Adena loved life. She loved to laugh, to throw parties, to go to parties, to dress in costume, to sing, to watch funny movies, to be silly, to paint, to be mellow, and to travel the world. Adena’s life was anything but staid. She got married at a demolition derby in the middle of a hurricane. She went from loving Ethiopian food to spending a month in Ethiopia and bringing home an Ethiopian tour guide who won an American visa. Adena had only one thing left on her bucket list – to visit a dude ranch in Montana.
Those that knew Adena best know that she cherished her time with her husband Ben, laughing with friends, and spending time with her younger sister Deborah. While she will surely be missed, her infectious laugh, thoughtful words of wisdom, and free spirit will live on in the hearts of all that knew and loved her.
Adena’s husband Ben will hold a private celebration of Adena’s life. He urges those who loved her to think about her laugh and her smile and recommends eating mandel bread (preferably her Bubbe’s recipe) in her honor. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Mass General Cancer Center.