Obituary – Carolyn Fish

Carolyn Fish, a nationally and internationally known leader in the fight against domestic violence and a founder of a shelter for women in Rockland County, has died. The Haverstraw resident was 71.

Services will be held on Sunday morning at 9:30 at Beth Am Temple in Pearl River.

Fish was the shelter’s executive director for 35 years, starting from when the Rockland Family Shelter opened in a donated house in Clarkstown through 2012 when it changed its name to the Center for Safety & Change. A feminist activist since the early 1970s, she helped it grow from a 15-bed shelter to a model for serving survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and other violent crimes.

A feminist activist since the 1970s, she handled programming for the Rockland County National Organization for Women, co-coordinating conferences and hosting educational programs. She received numerous honors including awards from the U.S. Department of Justice, the NYS Senate, the NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence, New York State Crime Victims Board, Rockland County Polices Chiefs’ Association, the Rockland County Bar Association, and many others, according to the Center.

Ms. Fish is included in the anthology “Feminists Who Changed America 1963-1975.”

“It is a sad day in Rockland as we learn of the passing of former Center for Safety & Change Director Carolyn Fish,” said Rockland County Executive Ed Day. “Carolyn recognized domestic violence for the scourge it is and dedicated her life to helping victims; literally building the Rockland Family Shelter, now the Center for Safety & Change, from the ground up. She was a tenacious advocate the likes of which we may never see again and her contributions across Rockland and all of New York State will not soon be forgotten.”

Services were held at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Beth Am Temple in Pearl River.