This article was first published in The Jewish Daily Forward.
The Toronto Jewish community has been stunned into a mournful silence by the murder of beloved educator Rochelle Wise and her husband David (Donny) Pichosky in Florida last week.
Many turned inward with their grief as the couple was laid to rest on Monday at the Bathurst Lawn Memorial Park. However, one man, whose children went to the school where Wise had worked and who also knew Pichosky, spoke to The Forward after attending the funeral and burial, calling the murder “a huge shock and a double tragedy.”
The father said he planned on generally acceding to the request from the Bialik Hebrew Day School, where Wise was Preschool Vice Principal for four years before recently retiring, to avoid speaking to the media out of respect for the family of the deceased. “However, I will say that nobody has anything but wonderful things to say about Rochelle,” he shared. “She was a fantastic educator and a warm person. We all held her in high regard. We wished she had stayed at Bialik longer, but understood her wanting to retire and enjoy life with Donny.”
Wise, 66, who had founded and run the popular Crestwood Valley Day Camp for many years before working at Bialik, was discovered by concerned neighbors dead alongside her husband, 71, in their Hallandale Beach, Florida townhouse. The retirees were “snowbirds,” Canadians who spend up to half the year in Florida to escape the cold northern winters.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.