Graduates of The Roeper School from coast to coast are posting poignant recollections online to honor educator Annemarie Roeper, co-founder of the innovative private school. She died Friday morning at 93 in an assisted living facility in Oakland, CA, where she had lived since 2009.
Roeper had been diagnosed with colon cancer in late 2010 and was under hospice care since last October, a family statement says. "The magnitude of her impact is evident by the huge outpouring displayed here," adds an update at a CaringBridge.org site set up two weeks ago, where more than 270 messages are posted.
"I am so thankful her legacy is so well-rooted and flourishing," says a Friday night post there from Suzanne Heron, a Roeper Lower School student from 1958-63 who recalls being "loved, cared for, respected beyond words" at the Bloomfield Hills school.
Originally called Roeper City and Country School, it was founded in 1941 by George and Annemarie Roeper. The middle and upper school moved to Birmingham in 1981, when Roeper purchased the former Adams Elementary School.
Memories of the co-founder also are shared at a Roeper School Alumni page on Facebook, where Patrick O'Connor of Birmingham organized a 2-4 p.m. gathering Saturday (May 12) at Dick O'Dow's "to touch base and remember Annemarie."
Reminiscing began Friday after a post from alumni director Emery Pence of Franklin notified the Facebook page's 860 members that the co-founder "died quietly with the knowledge that her life changed the world." He added that when a memorial service is scheduled, "we will be sure that everybody gets lots of notification so you can make plans to come home."
These are among comments on Pence's thread:
- Daniel Quick, Bloomfield Hills attorney: "A force for good has left us a tremendous legacy."
- Dena Wall Raminick, West Bloomfield: "What a beautiful lady and a beautiful legacy she has left for all of us. Such a loss for our Roeper family."
- Jason Hammond, Lathrup Village: "Thank you, Annemarie. You and George changed my life and the lives of most of the people I love. Your spirit lives on in all Roperians!"
- Deirde Wade of Boston: "My heart hurts. The family she and George created changed my life and made me who I am. They will both live on in all of us."
- Rachel Roberts Elman, Westlake Village, CA (originally Detroit): "She and George changed many, many lives in positive ways."
- Scott Thomas: "I transferred in eighth grade and graduated from Roeper in 2005. Everything about Roeper changed me for the better: taught me how to use my thoughts to guide my actions and how to see a silver lining around everything. Not only did it teach me to be a better student and person -- I ended up marrying Shayna Scafe . . . who graduated in 2005 as well."
- David Jaffe: "The truly extraordinary thing that Annemarie gave us as children was that she treated us as real, complete people whose thoughts, opinions, dreams, concerns, wants and questions were entitled to respect. . . . It was her core belief in us as human beings that made all the difference."
- Charlae Washington: "Annemarie was amazing and changed my life."
- Carol Clark Sells: "She inspired so many of us and made the world a more beautiful place."