Society / Profiles

This Homecoming Queen Brings an Arty Touch and a Difference Making Drive to the Fort Worth Social Scene

A 1969 Bomb Girl Moment With Rozanne Rosenthal

BY // 09.17.19

One of my favorite music videos is the Pet Shop Boys’ “Being Boring.” Scrawled across the screen near the beginning is a quote: “She was never bored because she was never boring.” Those words sum up Rozanne Rosenthal.

Case in point, the bottle of chilled Absolut Rozanne vodka displayed in her bar — or the fact that I almost chose a photo of her riding her Harley-Davidson (circa 1998) instead of the picture you see here.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Rozanne over a few leisurely afternoons in her Westover Hills residence, overlooking the Shady Oaks Country Club golf course near Fort Worth. When it comes to Rozanne’s home, I could pen a feature headlined “This House is The Bomb.”

It’s cantilevered with numerous stories. I actually couldn’t tell exactly how many, even though she took me on an extensive tour. While it’s certainly modern in design, it’s filled with warmth and heart — two words not typically used when describing a home ultra-modern in design.

Rozanne and her husband, Billy Rosenthal, are the forces behind Penrose LLC. Billy’s family was in the meat business and owned Standard Meat, which has been around for three generations in Fort Worth. After selling the company to Sara Lee in 1983, they launched Penrose, an investment and food-innovation business, in 1998. Rozanne and Billy have three children: Ashli, Ben, and Maddie. The two eldest are now involved in the family business and the youngest recently finished medical school and will soon be practicing in Cincinnati.

Rozanne likes to joke: “It’s every Jewish mother’s dream. I have a doctor and a lawyer [Ashli’s husband] in the family.” All of the Rosenthals are deeply devoted to Beth-El Congregation, having donated the land where the temple sits in 1997.

Rozanne’s art collection is both covetable and museum-worthy. During our visits, as we walked and talked, I couldn’t help but exclaim over works by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and KAWS. The Rosenthals have been acquiring pieces for decades, and their close relationship with the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth has been instrumental in fostering their appreciation of contemporary artists. Rozanne has also enlisted the aid of Fort Worth native and Dallas-based art consultant John Runyon on her and Billy’s collecting journey.

Rozanne, my first Fort Worth Bomb Girl, was born in the small town of Bay City, outside Houston. The arts and dance were a significant part of her life when she was growing up. She and her three siblings watched little television and instead went to the library once a week to stock up on books. All of this likely laid the foundation for Rozanne’s support of cultural organizations around Fort Worth, including The Modern and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Her commitment to community was learned early from her mother, who was a tireless volunteer and president of the local school board. One of Rozanne’s most important causes is breast cancer awareness and treatment. Her college roommate, Joan Katz, was diagnosed with the disease in the early 1990s.

While Katz was undergoing treatment for the first time, the two founded the Fort Worth affiliate of Susan G. Komen and had the first local Race For The Cure in 1993. Katz is alive and well today, having battled four bouts with cancer. To this day, the two lifelong friends continue their work with Komen.

I love this featured Bomb picture for two reasons: In all of the Bomb columns I’ve penned for PaperCity, Rozanne is our first homecoming queen. She also looks exactly the same today as she does in this photo. There is something about her pose and expression that says “Watch out world, I’m going to take you over.”

And, indeed, she did. As for Rozanne, her “never boring” spirit — evident even in high-school — shines today. Let’s hear from her:

Approximate date of this photo.

Yikes! The date of the photo was a Friday night in October 1969.

The occasion.

Bay City High School’s homecoming party. I had been crowned queen at halftime of our football game!

What were you wearing?

I was wearing a dress that I had traveled to Houston to buy, as the stores in Bay City had very few options. And how about that crown? I felt so special! I’m sure my Dad wouldn’t let me spend more than $100. . . max!

What price fashion?

I was totally into fashion in college, and the clothes were so much fun to wear. Hot pants, high boots, flowy blouses, and, of course, jeans. It was the ’70s. After college, I taught school and made no money but was able to shop sales and feel pretty fashionable.

After I married and had three kids, I went to Houston to Tootsies. I bought several outfits — I loved Moschino, Thierry Mugler, Issey Miyake. . . I tried them all on for my husband, Billy, and he almost blew a fuse! He was sure I had maxed out our credit cards.

From then on, I just appeared in my clothes and never showed them to him before I wore them.

Why is this a picture of you?

I felt like the bomb because I was with my boyfriend, who was a well-liked football player. I felt like it was my night, and I reveled in the glow of feeling so happy, popular and loved!

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