MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – A man who recently bought a beachfront condo at Champlain Towers South came to Florida after a particularly rough year.
Harry Rosenberg lost his wife to cancer and both parents to COVID-19 in New York.READ MORE: FHP Confirms Fatality After Tanker Truck That Drove Off Highway In Davie Catches Fire
He told a friend that he came to Florida for a much-needed change of scenery.
“He told me, ‘It is the next chapter of my life.’ He went through hell. His parents passed away. His wife passed away,” said Steve Eisenberg, who saw the 52-year-old asset manager last week at the synagogue.
The home in Surfside was to be a gathering spot for visiting children and grandchildren, and his daughter and son-in-law were doing just that when they traveled to the condo last week from New Jersey to join him for the Sabbath.
Hours later, the building collapsed, and all three family members are missing in the rubble.
Their cascading tragedies — cancer, COVID-19 and now the flattening of the building — are reminders of the excruciating toll the collapse has taken on families after what was already a grief-filled year.
Elsewhere in the building, a woman also sought a fresh start in Florida after falling ill and recovering from COVID-19. Another man was visiting Florida to attend the funeral of an old friend who died after being infected, and a Colombian family was in Miami to get the vaccine.
Rosenberg “came to Florida to breathe a little bit,¨ said Rabbi Sholom D. Lipskar, founder of the Shul of Bal Harbour, the synagogue he joined.READ MORE: ‘Get The Shot Today': Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried Urging Vaccinations As Florida COVID Cases Skyrocket
When the building tumbled to the ground, Rosenberg’s daughter, Malky Weisz, 27, and her husband, Benny Weisz, 32, had just arrived for their visit on the second floor of Champlain Towers South. So far, 12 bodies have been recovered. Almost 150 people are still unaccounted for.
Described as a family man and observant Jew, Rosenberg had launched a young adult center for mental healing at a hospital in Israel in memory of his late wife, Anna Rosenberg.
Before his wife died last summer of a brain tumor, he spent three years taking care of her, a close friend said.
“He put his life on hold,” said Maurice Wachsmann, a friend of Rosenberg’s for more than 30 years.
Months after her death came more heartache. His father died of COVID-19 in January, and weeks later his mother died of the same.
“It was extremely difficult,” Wachsmann said. “He did everything for his parents. Family first, before everything.”
Rosenberg decided to move to Florida, first renting smaller apartments and finally buying last month the larger condo in Surfside.
Last week, Rosenberg traveled to New York for the baby-naming ceremony of his second grandchild and rushed back to Miami to prepare for his daughter and son-in-law’s visit. She works as an auditor at a branch of the Roth & Co accounting firm in Farmington, New Jersey. Her Austrian-born husband works in finance.MORE NEWS: Miami PD Searching For Hit-&-Run Driver Who Struck Motorcyclist
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