Our daughter, Roxanna died as the result of a vehicular accident on the streets of New York City on October 6, 1995. She was 26 years old. At the time of her death, she was completing course work for her Ph. D. in music theory at CUNY and teaching at a nearby college. She was a graduate of Swarthmore College. She was active in her church's women's organization (Manhattan) where she served as a counselor to the president. She had started a literacy training program for the deaf and another (in English) for Spanish speaking individuals who needed it to further their education, employment or communication skills. Because a music teacher heard her trying to pick out hymns on the church piano, Roxanna began music lessons shortly before she was 5. She had a tremendous gift and became an accomplished pipe organist. Her true love was writing music. She won a national PTA contest when she was in the second grade. Other honors followed.
In her memory and to honor the love she had for education, friends and family established a scholarship fund. It will help students from her home county in the beautiful hills of West Virginia, further their education. While all the details are not finalized, educational excellence, need, community service, love of music and the fine arts and desire to obtain a superior education are elements intended to be part of the application process. Her mother and I find some solace in this effort. The fund already exceeds $8900.00. Not bad for this poor section of WV. Contributions have come from many states including New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Connecticut, Utah, Maryland, North Carolina and California. Of course, contributions have come from many communities in West Virginia. We are gratified.
She had many friends. At her apartment, professors, homeless, students and professionals were found. She loved them all and brought them together. At her memorial service in Manhattan, least 15 individuals told us that she was their best friend. There were others. Others that we knew. Her choir traveled from Buckhannon to Central WV to sing the songs that she wrote and arranged at her funeral service. They traveled almost two hours to the graveside service to sing again. (Roxanna was burried at a family cemetery on a farm settled at the of the Revolutionary War.) Her choir is scheduled to cut a CD of her music. It lifts our heart.
While Roxanna is not physically present, she is still here in spirit. She loved her home county and the love and opportunities people here gave her. One of her professors at CUNY stated that she gave a sense on community to that school. Many friends in New York City recounted numerous times she followed the West Virginia tradition of delivering hot bread and cakes in times of distress. This has now become a tradition in their lives. At the school they credit her with establishing a spirit of community. Almost everyone we talked to in New York told us how proud she was of West Virginia and her home. She talked of the beauty of our state and its people many times. The scholarship fund will help continue her love for education and her desire to help others love learning.
We have seven other children and Sunday afternoon is when those in the area gather at our home. These children help us. The grandchildren help us understand that love still exists. The expectant mother, who feels that she too has been cheated by the death of the sister with whom she had joyfully planned to jointly raise children, bring joy of the hope for an eternal family. She plans to honor her sister's memory by naming her child after her sister (if it is a daughter).
Tom and Mary Glass
You can send email to Tom and Mary at [email protected]