Rosa Kittrell Barksdale, owner of Barksdale Home Care Service, and a longtime member of the Business Council of Westchester died this week. She was 84.
“Rosa was a much-respected female and African American entrepreneur who was a trailblazer in the home healthcare field,’’ said Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester. “We were proud to have her as a long-time member of the Business Council of Westchester and appreciated her contributions to the community and her service on the Westchester Putnam Workforce Investment Board. She will be greatly missed.’’
Founded in 1982, Barksdale Home Care Services provided home health care services to Westchester County and surrounding areas. A leader in Home Healthcare, her company was one of the first African-American owned health care organizations to contract with the Department of Social Services in New York State. Her company also provided training for home health aides for over 30 years.
Among her many other professional achievements, Barksdale was honored with the Golden Harvest Humanitarian Award from the Westchester Public/Private Partnership for Aging, and the Madam CJ Walker Award for Economic Development. She was also a leader who worked with her colleagues in healthcare to secure a $10 million federal grant to assist area long-term unemployed to return to work as part of the nationally recognized Westchester/Putnam Workforce Development Board Jobs Waiting Program. Rosa was born on April 5, 1936, as the fourth and middle child of seven to Fredrick Douglas and Edna Lance Kittrell.
She was an extraordinary collaborator, colleague, mentor, and friend to many in the greater Westchester County community, and these attributes served her well in her pursuit of success as an entrepreneur. Barksdale aspired to become a teacher while attending Mount Vernon’s A.B. Davis High School, but she was awarded a scholarship from the Long Island Hospital School of Nursing in Boston. With several of her siblings already in college, the scholarship made higher education possible for her, and she enrolled. After graduating nursing school in 1958. Rosa earned a bachelor’s degree in education from The College of New Rochelle, and she was the author of the book “The Intuitive Entrepreneur” published in 2011. She was also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Westchester County, New York Chapter.
To honor her legacy in the healthcare field, her family and friends are developing The Rosa Kittrell Barksdale Healthcare Career Scholarship fund.