From Political Rivalry To A Personal Bond

By Kevin Riordan, Inquirer Columnist
Posted: November 11, 2013

Jim Beach changed Susan Rose’s life. Twice.

In 1995, the veteran Democrat was elected Camden County register of deeds, thwarting Rose’s bid for a second term.

“Up to that point,” says Rose, a Cherry Hill Republican and one of my oldest friends, “it was the most devastating blow of my life.”

But in 1999, the eldest of her four daughters, Lauren Rose Albert, 40, died when a vehicle in which she was a passenger tumbled down a hillside in Morocco. The mother of three had been on vacation with her husband, Todd A. Albert, chairman of orthopedics at the Rothman Institute.

Grief-stricken, Rose was struggling to establish a charitable foundation in Lauren’s memory when she received a handwritten note of encouragement from Beach.

From that simple gesture has arisen an unlikely, and refreshingly bipartisan, alliance that continues to thrive.

“We had lunch, and she sat across the table from me with her shoulders slumped,” recalls Beach, now a state senator representing Camden County. The Voorhees resident, 67, was reelected to a third term Nov. 5.

“Susan was broken,” Beach says. “But she’s become a dynamo.”

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