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JA Snow Funeral Home

OBITUARY

Phoebe Winona Roper

18 May, 19382 April, 2021

Phoebe Roper died of renal and heart failure on the 2nd April, 2021. Born in Montreal on the 18th May, 1938, the elder daughter of Huntly Roddick and Margaret (Margot) Redpath, she attended The Study, where she was Head Girl in 1955-56. She then left Montreal for Dalhousie where she made lifelong friendships and met her future husband. After graduation in 1960 she went to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, receiving an Ed. M. in elementary education in 1961, the year of her marriage.

Phoebe taught elementary education in Cambridge, England and in 1967-68 at the Halifax Ladies College (now Armbrae Academy). When she moved to London, Ontario in 1970, she discovered that the Ontario education authorities refused to recognize her Harvard degree. Denied the opportunity to teach, she worked for a number of years at London Kiwanis Senior Citizens' Centre, helping those served by the Centre to cope with loneliness and other difficulties of old age.

After returning to Halifax in 1976, Phoebe became Assistant to the Editorial Board of Dionysius, the newly founded publication of the Dalhousie Classics Department. Over a period of 15 years she handled with tact and diplomacy the sometimes prickly sensibilities of the editors, becoming, as one of them put it, "the principal defender of our office against Chaos." She found an outlet for her teaching skills as a volunteer assisting children with reading difficulties at Sir Charles Tupper School. Her dedication to her work at Tupper led to her receiving a "Golden Apple" award from the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Phoebe had a deep love and knowledge of English literature. Creating anthologies of the poems she loved, often illustrated by her paintings and drawings, gave her immense pleasure. Her beautifully written letters, often on hand-painted cards, were prized by those lucky enough to receive them. She also wrote poetry and in 1990 published a collection of poems for children (and some adults), illustrated by herself, entitled The Discovery of Canada and Other Animals.

Phoebe found joy in music. She learned to play the recorder in the 1970s. For over 30 years she was one of the "Hemiolas," five women who met to play together, share anecdotes and drink the occasional glass of sherry. She also enjoyed recorder duos with like-minded friends. Choral singing had been an important element in her school life in Montreal and for a number of years she sang in the Dalhousie Chorale in performances of Bach, Mozart and Handel.

Throughout her life, Phoebe loved crafts of all sorts. She designed many quilts and was skilled at other types of needlework, most recently making crewel-work linen lavender sachets. Her designs were inspired by her passion for birds and flowers. Every spring she haunted nurseries to find the flowers she wanted that year in her garden.

Phoebe is survived by her husband, Henry Roper, her sister, Amy Linda Redpath of Flat River, Prince Edward Island, her brother, Peter Mills Redpath of Victoria, British Columbia, many nieces and nephews, and her lifelong friend, Alexandra Wallis of Montreal. She was predeceased in 1993 by her brother, Lawrence Andrew Redpath (Louise) of Vancouver.

Many thanks to the staff of the Palliative Care Unit, 7A, VG Site, for their care of Phoebe during her last days. Those who wish to honour her memory are encouraged to make a donation to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust in recognition of her love of the natural world and desire to preserve the environment of her adopted province for future generations.

A private funeral service will be held at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of J.A. Snow Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made by visiting: www.jasnowfuneralhome.com

Services

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Memories

Phoebe Winona Roper

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Christine Woodbury

8 April 2021

Henry,

Phoebe was a treasure. I will miss chatting with her as we shared our mutual joy working with young children. The little tikes who attended the preschool Phoebe was involved with for years and years, are all the wealthier for being gathered into her heart. She was the sharer of knowledge, the teller of stories, and the collector of hugs and smiles.

She was greatly loved and she will be greatly missed.

Our love to you and to Kirsten, Heidi, and their families.

“To teach is to touch a life forever”

Joanna Sachar

7 April 2021

When we lost Phoebe, a light that had brightened my life for over seven decades all at once seemed to go out. She and I had been best friends in Montreal since elementary school. Many classmates ignored me in those days, evidently on account of my Jewish family background, but Phoebe’s home and the Redpath family always embraced me warmly. Over the many many years since then, we kept in touch and I was always uplifted by her cheer, her warmth, her spirit.

Prized possessions in our bedroom are the embroidered sachets she made and sent me over the years. I invariably found our regular correspondence uplifting, but perhaps best of all was the personal visit we enjoyed when our whole family of three (David, Mark, and I) saw her and Henry in Halifax in the summer of 2018. Phoebe was entering dialysis at the time, yet neither she nor Henry showed any signs of dimmed enthusiasm for life. Henry was a boundless support to her in her final days just as she had been a light to all her loved ones over the decades.

In fact, I’m no longer so sure about about my opening words about the light having gone out. I feel it will stay with me and all those who loved her for the rest of our days.

David and Mark join me in deepest condolences and fondest memories, always,

—Joanna (Silver) Sachar

Nicholas Hatt

7 April 2021

Dear Henry,

Phoebe was remembered in prayer during worship on Easter Monday at the Little Dutch Church.

Please know of our condolences and prayers for you and your family from the Parish of Saint George.

Nicholas

Cynthia Pilichos

6 April 2021

Henry, I was saddened to learn of the death of Phoebe. I knew her to be very accomplished, but learned how much by what was in the newspaper! It is obvious you had a wonderful partnership. I was at the Halifax Regional School Board meeting the evening that Phoebe was awarded the "Golden Apple Award" and it was evident that this was very much deserved. I know her support of students in their journey to be stronger readers was greatly appreciated by so many. I was at that HRSB meeting because of recognition for a valued colleague and was so glad to have been able to see Phoebe honoured in this way. I further appreciate that this honour is noted in her obituary. Please know that there are many who extend heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts to you at this time of deep loss. Cynthia Pilichos

Verena Dowding-Smith

6 April 2021

So sorry to hear of Phoebe’s passing.
Thoughts and prayers,
Verena

Temmo Korisheli

6 April 2021

Dear Dr. Roper,
I was so sorry to learn of the death of your wife. I don't know if you remember me, especially as I never had the privilege of taking one of your courses, but long with Anna Erickson and Gary McGonagill I was one of the "three Californians" who came to King's in 1983. Not to speak for my friends, but my two brief years in Halifax transformed my life in the best possible ways, so much of which was thanks to you and your fellow faculty at King's. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and send you my deepest sympathies for your loss.
~Temmo Korisheli

Janet Doyle

5 April 2021

Today, Apr 5, I just learned about Phoebe's death, and was saddened to hear that this graceful, thoughtful person who was a calming, very welcome presence im our lives there in Halifax was not going to be present should we return from Victoria for a visit, when travel is possible...

We give Henry our deep sympathy for Phoebe's loss, and know many of their friends and colleagues will miss Phoebe immensely but that their thoughts will turn to memories of her gracious words and smile. Janet (Bates) Doyle

Caitlin Lees

5 April 2021

Henry,

It was such a privilege to know Phoebe. I hope you find comfort in so many years of wonderful memories and the incredible legacy she left behind.

Caitlin

Robert Ryan

5 April 2021

Dear Henry,
My brother Michael sent me the very sad news of Phoebe's death. I remember the exceptionally fine and gifted person she was from our Dalhousie days. Her strong influence will certainly live on through the enriched lives of the many people, young and old, whom she helped, as well as through her writing and art. My very sincere sympathy to you, Henry.

Robert (Ryan)

Mary Clancy

5 April 2021

Dear Henry,
I was so sorry to hear about your sad loss of Phoebe.
She was such an amazing woman with such a wonderful mind and so many varied interests.
No words can really assuage this sorrow but I hope it helps to know your friends are thinking about you with affection and sympathy.
MaryC.

From the Family