Honoring a life of service: Rosa Wims laid to rest

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Friends and family gathered Monday to celebrate the life of Rosa Wims.

The trailblazer was one of the first Black nurses in Rochester and her life was one of service to her community.

MORE: ‘Arms big enough to hug Rochester’: Family remembers Rosa Wims

Just how much she mean was evident by the full pews inside Aenon Missionary Baptist Church. And at 100 years old, you can imagine the sheer number of people she touched during her lifetime.

The Genesee Street church is in the neighborhood in which Miss Wims spent much of her adult life. She came to Rochester at 23 and never left. She spent decades as a nurse at Rochester General Hospital.

After retiring, she founded a community health awareness center and went on to host her famous Thanksgiving dinner that grew to serve hundreds each year.

On Monday, several local leaders came out to pay their respects, including Miss Wims’ lifelong friend, former Rochester Mayor Bill Johnson, who spoke at her service.

Miss Wims’ faith was deeply important to her. As such, her funeral included scripture, song, and words from several religious leaders.

“The Lord has saw fit that he bring a flower back in his garden. Amen,” said the officiant, Rev. Herman Alston, Jr.

Miss Wims is survived by four generations of family members, including four children.