The National Bonsai Foundation (NBF) and the worldwide bonsai community mourn the loss of Solita D. Tafur Rosade who passed away on Aug. 31st, 2019. A beloved figure who dedicated her life to promoting the art of bonsai, Soli was born in Colombia, South America, but left at an early age to be educated in the United States, Spain and Switzerland.
Returning to Colombia after college, Soli married and raised two children. Her love of nature and her hobbies of painting and gardening gave way to the fascinating world of bonsai. In 1984 she attended her first bonsai class in Cali, Columbia. Later while in Colombia, she authored a bonsai manual in Spanish entitled "The Essential in Bonsai," and became President of the Asociación Vallecaucana de Bonsai.
Soli’s devotion to the art of bonsai took her to many places in the world, both as a bonsai artist and as a bonsai diplomat. She gave demonstrations and held workshops at international bonsai conventions and other bonsai events in Asia, Europe, India, South Africa, New Zealand, United States, Canada and several countries in Latin America.
In 1992, Solita founded the Latin American Bonsai Federation (FELAB) and served as FELAB's President until 1998. From 1998 to 2002, she was the President of Bonsai Clubs International (BCI). In 2005, she became the third Chairman of the World Bonsai Friendship Federation (WBFF), and after her term ended in 2009, she continued to serve as President of the North American Bonsai Federation (NABF) until 2018. Until her passing, she was a member of the NBF Board of Directors supporting the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum in Washington, D.C.
Earlier this year Solita and Chase Rosade celebrated 26 years of marriage. Together they owned and operated the Rosade Bonsai Studio in New Hope, Pennsylvania. From this beautiful studio, they invited both masters and novice alike to share in their love of bonsai, over the years giving countless classes and demonstrations to anyone willing to learn this wonderful art. From its inception the Rosade Bonsai Studio helped lead the way in celebrating World Bonsai Day in support of peace and friendship through bonsai.
There are few whose service to bonsai was greater than Soli’s. Much like WBFF’s founding fathers, Saburo Kato, John Naka and Ted Tsukiyama, Soli possessed “the spirit of bonsai” and worked tirelessly to spread the good word of bonsai both at home and abroad.
Soli leaves behind a loving family and many friends and admirers throughout the world whom she inspired with her boundless enthusiasm for bonsai. At the end of her life, she found great joy seeing how the art of bonsai is flourishing in every corner of the globe – and knowing that she had played a part in making this happen. Her contributions will long be remembered and her friendship will always be missed.