Roberta (Robi) Josephson passed away in the Westchester Medical Center on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. Robi was born March 3rd 1952 in Bayside, Queens. She grew up with her dad Vincent, mom Ann (nee Shilhan) and brother William. She was very close with her aunts and uncles and cousins. She attended the elementary and middle schools in Bayside and graduated Bayside High School in 1969.
She came to SUNY New Paltz that year as an African/Asian Studies major. Three years into the program she couldn’t see where it was leading and she dropped out of college. She stayed in the area and worked as a dental assistant, a chiropractic assistant and for security at the Mohonk Mountain House. She met her future husband, Ted Reiss at a New Year’s Eve party in 1978. They didn’t get together until three months later when they met accidentally at a farm stand where Robi was working. They lived together for about two years when Ted was offered a teaching position in Scotland. After coming back from Scotland, Robi refocused and went back to college to complete an undergraduate degree in Journalism. She then went on to complete her master’s degree in English. She wrote her thesis on John Burrows, a local naturalist/author.
Robi got hooked on local history. In 2002 she put together a picture history book for the Images of America series titled “Mohonk Mountain House and Preserve.” Later, she was editing Ridgelines, the newsletter of the Mohonk Preserve when she came across some work that Bob Larsen had done for the Preserve. Bob was a ranger for the Preserve and in his wanderings around the area he noticed old foundations, wells, root cellars and boundary markers. He did research on who was there and what they were doing. When Robi saw the data she said, “You have a book here.” Robi wrote the book, with Bob’s input and advice, and Black Dome Press published it in 2013. The title “An Unforgiving Land: Hardscrabble Life in the Trapps, a Vanished Shawangunk Mountain Hamlet.” She was working on another book with her friend Vivian Wadlin. They were going to explore the art and ephemera of the people and places in the Shawangunk Mountains.
Robi was predeceased by her mother and father. Robi is survived by her husband Ted, her brother William and his wife Joyce, and a myriad of cousins across the country and an army of friends. She will be missed by everyone who knew her.