Rosalind Nyman Joel, the mother of famous singer/songwriter Billy Joel, died last Sunday at the age of 92. The Hicksville resident, who was involved with numerous charities and organizations in the community, was the inspiration behind Billy’s song, “Rosalinda’s Eyes,” off his 1978 album 52nd Street. One of the famous lyrics from the song is “I’ve got music in my hands; The work is hard to find; But that don’t get me down; Rosalinda understands.”
Rosalind was born in Brooklyn on Feb. 15, 1922 to Philip and Rebecca Nyman who emigrated from England. She met her husband, Howard, in 1942 while attending a City College of New York musical production. The couple married three years later and had their son, William “Billy” Martin Joel in 1949. Later on they adopted their daughter, Judy, who was the daughter of Rosalind’s late sister, Muriel. The couple’s marriage lasted 11 years until they divorced in 1957.
After their son was born, the couple moved out of Brooklyn to Hicksville so they could reside in the suburbs. Howard was an accomplished pianist, but it was Rosalind who helped push her son to study the piano. At the age of four, Billy showed an amazing aptitude for the instrument and by the time he was 16, he was already a professional, having joined his third band before he could even drive.
While Billy was out performing at musical gigs in the area, Rosalind was working various clerical positions in Hicksville, trying to put food on the table for her family.
After her son’s musical success, she remained very active in the community, working with local charities and organizations. She contributed much of her time and energy to the Little Shelter animal rescue and adoption center in Huntington, taking care of abandoned and abused animals.
The family has asked that all donations be made to the The Little Shelter animal rescue and adoption center in Huntington.
She is survived by her son, Billy Joel, and her daughter, Judy Molinari, her sister, Bertha Miller; and her two granddaughters, Alexa Ray Joel, and Rebecca Molinari Gehrkin.