Synagogue Shooting Trial

‘A joy to be around’: Family remembers beloved grandmother taken in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

PITTSBURGH — Jury selection is slated to begin on Monday in the trial of the man accused of shooting and killing 11 people at a Shadyside Synagogue. Although they were taken too soon, their legacies live on.

Rose Mallinger was a staple in the Squirrel Hill community, she was a woman who loved her family and those around her.

Rose’s daughter, Andrea Wedner told Channel 11′s Susan Koeppen that Rose was a wonderful mother and grandmother, with a zest for life.

“She was just a joy to be around,” chimed in Rose’s granddaughter, Hilary Soriano. “Her memory is alive and will always be with us.”

The family says it seemed like Rose knew everyone, and everyone knew Rose.

“Didn’t matter who you were or where you were from. She made connections, all ages, all backgrounds. Just kindness and love from the moment I knew her, to [age] 97,” said Hilary.

At 97, Rose Mallinger was the oldest victim at the Tree of Life Synagogue, but her family says she was young at heart.

“Anything she could do to be with a group of people or to be with her family, that’s what made her happy,” Wedner recalled.

Wedner was with her mother at Tree of Life on October 27, 2018 – she was shot in the arm. Rose was fatally wounded.

“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her and miss her and wish she was here,” Wedner said.

Rose’s granddaughters, Hilary and Amy, talk lovingly about the woman they call “Bobe.”

“She loved sitting on the porch, and I would sit on the porch with her, and we would just talk. She knew everything about everybody. I would hold her hand. I just miss that part of her,” said Amy.

Hilary says she misses her grandmother’s voice. She still listens to a voicemail her grandmother left before her passing.

In the years since the tragedy at Tree of Life, Rose’s family has built a rose garden in her honor. They helped create a patio space at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill. It’s a place where Rose loved to go to work out, eat lunch and socialize.

Andrea says she doesn’t know how often she will attend the upcoming trial of the accused shooter, but she will be there.

Rose’s family will also be helping to tie blue ribbons across the region as the trial gets underway. It’s an initiative of the 10-27 Healing Partnership.

“I hope we can see a lot of blue ribbons, and everyone is in support of our families and the community is with us,” said Wedner.

The outpouring of love and support from the people of Pittsburgh after the tragedy is something Wedner says she will never forget.

“We are a very close family. This has brought us so much closer together. My mother would be so happy because she loved her family and to know that we are all so tight and support each other and see each other and spend time with each other. I think she is smiling down,” said Andrea.

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW