In an undated family photograph, Stefanie Rothschild, right, holds her dog, Oscar. She is joined, from left, by daughter Carly; husband, Gregg; daughter Molly; and son, Dylan. Stefanie Rothschild died following injuries sustained Wednesday, June 30, when a microburst storm in Belgrade brought a tree down onto her vehicle while she was inside. Photo courtesy of Andrew Herscowitz

A woman who was inside her car during a microburst storm June 30 on Long Pond in Belgrade Lakes died a day after a tree crashed onto her vehicle in the storm, her family said Monday.

Stefanie Rothschild in an undated photograph. She died following injuries sustained Wednesday, June 30, when a microburst storm in Belgrade Lakes brought a tree down onto her vehicle while she was inside. Photo courtesy of Andrew Herscowitz

Stefanie Loren Rothschild, 52, of Cabin John, Maryland, was a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend to many, according to her brother, Andy Herscowitz, of Chevy Chase, Maryland.

She loved Maine and spent most of the summer here for many years, he said.

“Everyone adored her,” Herscowitz, 50, said Monday in a telephone interview. “She organized everybody. She was a big fundraiser. She was the first person to do a fundraiser. All three of her children — she taught to do the same.”

Rothschild was generous, even in death, according to her brother.

“She was an organ donor,” he said. “Her kidneys and her liver are in recipients already.”


Herscowitz spoke lovingly of his older sister, who had arrived in Belgrade Lakes on June 29, the day before the microburst downed many large trees, damaged several buildings and knocked out power to many homes and camps.

The tree fell onto Rothschild’s vehicle in her camp driveway, about 150 yards from Day’s Store on Main Street in Belgrade Lakes, according to Herscowitz. The camp is on the Rome town line, he said.

“She had just returned from doing her shopping to stock up,” he said. “Her daughter Carly got out of the car and she (Stefanie) backed up to unload and was talking to her other daughter, Molly, on the phone.”

Carly had already gone into the house when the tree crashed onto the vehicle with her mother still in it, he said.

“Everyone worked feverishly to get her out of the car,” Herscowitz said. “One neighbor brought out a forklift. People had chainsaws because the road was blocked. One of the people was an EMT, who was at the scene almost right away.”

Rothschild and Herscowitz’s parents Herbert and Ellen Herscowitz of Bethesda, Maryland, who own a neighboring camp, also rushed out of their cottage.


“My mother was able to hold my sister’s hand and talk to her while people were trying to rescue her,” he said.

The storm, which weather experts designated the next day as a microburst that had been concentrated to a 2-mile swath along the eastern shore of Long Pond in Belgrade Lakes Village, uprooted about 300 trees. Wind gusts ranged from 60 mph to 90 mph, which is in line with sustained wind speeds seen during a Category 1 hurricane.

Eil Nystrom of Nystrom Lawn & Landscaping clears downed trees from the parking lot of Lakepoint Real Estate on Thursday, July 1, in Belgrade Lakes. Trees crushed a pickup truck and were still on the real estate office’s roof. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Rothschild, who also has an older brother, Robert Herscowitz, was taken first to Harold Alfond Center for Health in Augusta for treatment of serious injuries and then transferred to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she was kept on life support so her organs could be donated.

“We got to see her and hold her hand and kiss her,” he said.

For the Herscowitz and Rothschild families, Belgrade Lakes has always been a special place, and Stefanie Rothschild drew many family members and friends there every summer.

Andy Herscowitz said he and his family have been overwhelmed by the support and love they have been shown since his sister’s death. He particularly wanted to recognize all of the people in Belgrade Lakes who have been so caring, including a friend who flew to Maryland to be at his sister’s services July 8 in Bethesda, which was attended by 2,000 people. Many others sent notes to the family.


“At the time of the accident, everyone in town was pitching in and trying to help,” Herscowitz said. “It is just so meaningful to our whole family. It reflects the incredible heart and soul of people in town, and in Maine.”

Stefanie Herscowitz grew up in Maryland, in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She graduated from Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland and then did her undergraduate work at Georgetown University, where she also received a master’s in business administration, according to Andy Herscowitz.

A man takes photographs Thursday, July 1, of a fallen tree that crushed a small boat and a pickup truck at Lakepoint Real Estate during a storm a day earlier in Belgrade Lakes. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

After graduate school, she worked at America Online, one of the first internet companies, and then became a full-time mother. She later became a teacher to preschool children and had been looking forward to teaching in the fall, Herscowitz said.

“She was so great with children,” he said. “All of her nieces and nephews and everyone adored her. She had a special relationship with each one, and we’re not talking two or three, but two dozen.”

As the youngest child, Andy Herscowitz said he worshipped his sister from the time he was little, following her almost everywhere. A diplomat who works overseas, he said her house was always the first place he would stop when he returned to the United States.

“She was such a warm, wonderful person, who always loved to laugh and loved to do practical jokes,” he said. “There was just so much love that she gave to so many people.”

Stefanie Rothschild became engaged to Gregg Rothschild in Belgrade Lakes, and they recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. The couple had three children: Dylan, 21, Molly, 19, and Carly, 17.

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