Annemarie Roeper, who with her husband, George, started more than seven decades ago, died Friday in Oakland, CA, the school announced in a news release. She was 93.
The school, recognized for its work with the gifted, serves more than 500 students from preschool to high school age on campuses in Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham. Quite a contrast from the school's humble beginnings in 1941 when the couple fled Nazi persecution and war-torn Europe, and were invited to Detroit to direct a psychoanalytically oriented nursery school. They also established a grade school starting with nine students.
The couple's educational vision "encompassed a profound respect for the individual and a commitment to freedom of growth and learning," the release stated.
An educator herself, Annemarie was a consistent voice for the individual soul of each child.
“Humanity has made two promises to its children. The first is to prepare a world which accepts them and provides them with opportunities to live, grow, and create in safety. The other is to help them develop their whole beings to the fullest in every respect,” she wrote in her book Educating Children for Life, published in 1990.
The Roepers are known as pioneers in the gifted education movement and the school became the second elementary school in the country to focus exclusively on gifted education in 1965.
“In my opinion, my mother and grandmother were the leading women progressive educators in the 20th century,” said son Tom Roeper, a professor of linguistics at the University of Massachusetts. “Their ideas are supported by the critical role of ‘creativity’ in modern cognitive science; the field I work in.”
The word was getting out to alumni and members of the community Friday afternoon through various forms of social media.
"Those who knew her, along with thousands of others who know about the Roepers, are sad, thankful, and happy to carry on and build upon her contributions to educational philosophy. Her spirit continues," Patch reader Clint Spevak wrote on the Bloomfield Patch Facebook page.
Annemarie was preceded in death by George in 1992. She is survived by her brother, Heinz Bondy and his wife, Carolyn, of Germantown, MD.; three children, Tom Roeper and his wife Laura Holland, of Amherst, MA; Peter Roeper and his wife Martha Harnly, of Oakland, CA; and Karen Roeper and her husband Peter Rosselli, of Muir Beach, CA; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.