Abe S. Rosen, 94; reporter, PR executive, city official

Abe S. Rosen
Abe S. Rosen
Posted: October 04, 2011

Abe S. Rosen, 94, a newspaper reporter and public relations executive, who served as Philadelphia city representative and director of commerce from 1966 to 1968, died Sunday, Oct. 2, at Abington Memorial Hospital of complications from congestive heart failure.

Mr. Rosen moved to the Abramson Center for Jewish Life in Horsham earlier this year. Before that, he had lived in Lower Southampton since 1990.

From January 1968 to September 1970, Mr. Rosen was president of the Philadelphia Convention and Tourist Bureau, as the agency was known at that time.

In 1970, he cofounded, with Allen Sommers, the public relations firm Sommers-Rosen. In 1983, he cofounded the Rosen-Coren Agency, where he was active until recently.

A daughter, Ellen Coren, said in a phone interview Monday that Mr. Rosen's career was marked by his love for Philadelphia.

"He thought it was the best thing ever. He would never let anybody say anything bad about the city."

In 1969, The Inquirer reported, Mr. Rosen developed a promotional campaign to present a long-stemmed rose to someone "chosen from those who make the headlines each day by doing something for or saying something nice about Philadelphia."

The highlight of his career, his daughter said, was serving as deputy to City Representative Fredric R. Mann in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

"Freddy had an interest in so many various things," Coren said, and was "a big influence in his life."

His daughter said that, as city representative himself, Mr. Rosen expanded the city's July Fourth celebration to a weeklong event, and helped develop the Liberty Trail, a tour of the region following in the footsteps of Gen. George Washington.

And, she said, he helped oversee an expansion of the international terminal at Philadelphia International Airport.

Born in West Philadelphia, Mr. Rosen graduated from Overbrook High School and attended Temple University for two years.

He began his career in 1935 as a teenage sports reporter for the Evening Public Ledger and worked there until it closed in 1942. He was a copy editor and interim financial editor for the Philadelphia Record from 1943 to 1944.

His daughter said Mr. Rosen served in the Army from 1944 to 1946, as an agent with its Criminal Investigation Division. A 1978 Inquirer story reported that he was also an editor in Shanghai of the China edition of the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.

When he returned to civilian life, Mr. Rosen toggled among newspapers, public relations, and city government.

After a brief second time with the Philadelphia Record, he worked for two public-relations firms - Wolfson Enterprises and Adelphia Associates - from 1947 to 1953.

With the city, he held two jobs from 1953 to 1955: Port of Philadelphia promotions director and special events director for the Department of Commerce.

After returning to Adelphia Associates in 1955-56, he became deputy city representative from 1956 to 1963.

He was vice president of public relations for the Al Paul Lefton firm until becoming city representative in 1966.

In 1988, the Philadelphia Public Relations Association named Mr. Rosen and Mr. Sommers to its Hall of Fame. Mr. Rosen was a member of the Public Relations Society of America.

He was a president of a local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and a member of the public relations committee of the former Federation of Jewish Agencies of Greater Philadelphia.

Mr. Rosen is survived by daughters Ellen Coren and Irene Garber, four grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. His wife, Bonnie, died in 1990.

Graveside services were set for noon, Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Roosevelt Memorial Park, Trevose.

Contact staff writer Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.


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