Celebrating the life of Maryalice Roush
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There will be a memorial service at the United Church of Christ in Orrville on Tuesday June 14 at 11 a.m. Following a simple lunch in the fellowship hall, her remains will be buried at the Wooster Cemetery. The Gresser Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.
Maryalice was born in Canton, Ohio, on December 27, 1918, to J. Edwin and Martha Teeter Roush. When Mr. Roush became unemployed during the Depression, the family moved to a farm on the Back Orrville-Wooster Road in 1934. While helping with the farm work as a teenager, Maryalice set her sights on getting an education. She graduated high school in 1936 and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in art education from Ohio University in 1940.
Maryalice’s goal had been to become an art teacher, However, school districts did not have the resources to include art in their curriculum during the World War II years. So instead, she worked at Sugardale Foods as a secretary and then at Wooster Rubber. In the 1950’s she was employed as an executive secretary at the Firestone Tire Company in Akron.
Maryalice commuted to work in Akron from the family farm in a carpool. One of her fellow carpoolers knew of her art education aspirations. One weekend this friend had a chance encounter with the superintendent of the Firelands school district in Lorain County, who mentioned he was looking for an art teacher. The ride share friend urged Maryalice to contact the Firelands superintendent. With trepidation she did, and she got the job.
The following school year, there was an opening for an art teacher in the Orrville school system and Maryalice took the position. She taught in the Orrville schools for 25 years, taking off one year to earn her master’s degree at Ohio University. For years she was the only art teacher in the elementary schools and would go from grade school to grade school teaching 1st and 2nd grades for a couple weeks and then 3rd and 4th for a couple weeks, and so on. She is remembered fondly by many former students.
Maryalice was an active member of Christ United Church of Christ: teaching Sunday School to fortunate youth and adults, and a founding member of the church’s Green Team. Her concern for the environment was evident in the two homes she had built—one a passive solar two-story home, and the other a more modest straw bale home. She was instrumental in the church installing solar panels on the church garage as a way to reduce the use of non-renewable sources for electricity production.
She was also the church’s artist-in-residence; sewing banners hung throughout the church, providing Sunday flowers for the altar, directing and designing costumes for the annual Madrigal, and designing windows which were executed in stained glass by Gary Burkey. She was the recipient of the United Church Homes’ prestigious Ben M. Herbster Award for exemplary philanthropic spirit and achievements.
Maryalice was an active member of local, state and national teachers’ associations, the Smithville Garden Club, the Smithville Grange, and served as a volunteer and secretary for the Wayne County Habitat for Humanity.
Above all, Maryalice was known to her family, friends and colleagues as a powerful example of how to live a Christian life.
She is survived by and remembered with affection by first cousin Paul Roush and nieces and nephews: Donald Martin, Craig Martin, Beth Galloway, Roberta Morgan, Deborah Martin, Mary Hall, John Roush, Deana Wright, and Joe Roush.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory to the Pastor’s Emergency Fund of Christ UCC, 301 South Main Street, Orrville, Ohio 44667.
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