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Morningside-Skyline column for April 25

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Mary McHale

Published on: Thursday, April 25, 2013

By Mary McHale

Vince Roper, co-founder of Stephanie Roper Committee, dies

Stephanie Roper was a graduate of La Reine High School in Suitland and a senior art student at Frostburg State University when she was kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered by two men. When the murderers were in court, the Roper family was kept from witnessing the trial.

In response, Vince and his wife Roberta founded the Stephanie Roper Committee, which has become the powerful victims’ rights organization, Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center, Inc., headquartered in Upper Marlboro. The current executive director is attorney Russell Butler, formerly of Morningside.

Vincent William Roper, 79, of Upper Marlboro, a retired Navy Captain, died in his sleep on April 4. He was born in Hazleton, Pa., enlisted in the Navy at 17 and was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. After graduation in 1956, he served tours around the world and retired with more than 30 years’ service.

He was an active member of the Knights of Columbus, Most Holy Rosary Council #11511, and the Naval Weather Service Association. During the funeral at Holy Rosary Church, one of his sons mentioned what a great basketball and soccer coach his father was.

Co-founder and current treasurer of the Maryland Crime Victims’ organization, Vince died just hours after receiving a proclamation from Gov. Martin O’Malley naming April 3 as Crime Victims and Advocates Commemorative Day. April 3, 1982, was the day that Stephanie was murdered.

Vince was the husband of Roberta; father of Stephanie, Brian, Daniel and Peter Roper and Sharon Thompson; grandfather of nine; brother of Barbara Bonina, Marilyn Marsden and James Gerard Roper.

Donations may be sent to MCVRC, 1001 Prince George’s Blvd., Suite 750, Upper Marlboro, MD 20770 or to the Stephanie Roper Scholarship at Frostburg.


Morningside Mayor Karen Rooker stepped down at the town meeting on April 16. She has served as mayor since 2008. She was tearful as she thanked her fellow Morningsiders and recounted the accomplishments the town has seen over her five years in office. Vice Mayor Jim Ealey presented her a plaque with an attached gavel. A reception followed. On May 6, Morningsiders will elect a new mayor and two council members.

Amy and Bradley Wade, of Morningside, are proud parents of a new daughter, Peyton, born April 15, weighing 5 pounds and 12 ounces. Little Peyton has three big sisters, Samantha, Nicole and Jasmine.

They all want Boardwalk! Monopoly is now played Mondays at the Spaulding Branch Library in District Heights. Kim Carrington, a Prince George’s substitute teacher and parent activist, started the program, which has attracted players, ages 11 to 26, for some hotly competitive buying and selling.

The flag at half-staff in front of the VFW is a poignant reminder of the Boston Marathon bombings. Thirteen Prince George’s runners participated in the race, The Prince George’s Sentinel reported last week. I don’t know if any of them were injured.

Local students honored

Two St. Philip the Apostle School students were named Carson Scholars at the annual awards banquet on April 7 at Martin’s West in Baltimore. They are seventh-grader Lauren Weaver, a first year Scholar, and sixth-grader Kennedy Sarvis, a second-year Scholar. Also, among the awardees was my granddaughter, Claire Mudd, a second-year Scholar and freshman at Eleanor Roosevelt High School.

In addition to Dr. Ben Carson, renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, the speakers included FOX anchor Chris Wallace, former Baltimore Raven Matt Stover and Nobel Prize in Physics winner Dr. John C. Mather. Sam Donaldson was emcee.

Carson Scholarships are awarded students in grades 4-11 who exemplify academic excellence and humanitarian qualities. Winners receive a $1,000 scholarship to be invested toward their college education. There are more than 5,000 Scholars across the U.S.

May they rest in peace

Edward Michael “Mike” Thomas, 64, of Waldorf, a 1967 graduate of Crossland High, died Feb. 26. He was retired from the Navy, with 21 years’ service. Survivors include his children, Evonne Crocker, Elaine Wahler, Eric and Evan Thomas.

C. William Johnson, 85, band director at Oxon Hill High from 1952 to retirement in 1981, died March 27 at a rehab center in League City, Texas.       


Happy birthday to Sue Stine McConkey-Mason, Daisy Young and my grandson David McHale, April 25; G.A. DeFelice, April 26; Michael Call, Apr. 27; Beverly Gotshall Marquis, DJ Fowler and Jessica Phipps, April 28; Lael McCune, Dorothy Lipka and Morningside Councilman Todd Mullins, April 30; May Whittington who turns 96 on May 1; Kathryn Deaver, Ann Lacey, Ernestine Taylor Wood, Dante Ross Jr. and Janet Booth Kaye, May 2.

Happy golden anniversary to Emanuel and Juanita Chaplin on April 26, and happy anniversary to Jan and Cindy Smith, their 41st on April 28!

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