As of the end of 2020, more than 300,000 people in the United States have died after contracting COVID-19.

In this story, we remember one of those people: a grandmother and great-grandmother who was a larger-than-life character from a small town in northern New York.

Rose Pearl Liscum on her 96th birthday. Photo courtesy of Shelly Noti.

Rosella Pearl Liscum grew up near Ogdensburg, New York, where she died the day after Christmas at the age of 101. 

Back in 2012, she sat down for StoryCorps with her daughter, Marlene Watson, to talk about some of her most treasured relationships, including how she met her boyfriend, Bill “Wild Bill” Cota.

Rose Liscum and her boyfriend, “Wild Bill” Cota, dancing at the Heuvelton, NY AMVETS, where they first met. Photo courtesy of Marlene Watson.


Top Photo: Marlene Watson and Rose Pearl Liscum at their StoryCorps interview in Rensselaer Falls, NY on July 9, 2012. By Jasmyn Morris for StoryCorps.

Editor’s note: Jasmyn Morris, who co-produced this interview, is related to some of the subjects in this story. Rose Liscum was her distant cousin, Gert Uhl was Morris’ great-grandmother, and Joyce is her grandmother.

Originally aired January 1, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.