James Edward Roper, native of Manhattan, died Wednesday, May 29 in the Good Shepard Hospice. Jim had been suffering the effects of cancer for nearly two years. He was 65 years old.
His father, banker Vic Roper, and a sister, Nina, preceded him in death. His mother, Alice, and his sister, Barbara reside in town. His brother, Dennis and sister-in-law, Nikki live in Jakarta Indonesia. His nieces and nephews live in Kansas, Arizona, and Melbourne Australia.
Jim was educated in local schools. After high school he and a friend spent a season working for vegetable canners in the state of Washington. On his return he worked for the school district before enrolling as a student at K-State.
There he studied foreign languages, took a degree, and entered graduate school as an English Department student. This is when he began teaching English department classes, something he did for over a decade.
But Jim always like to be out of doors. He turned to house painting, concentrating on older area homes. He was twice honored by the Manhattan/Riley County Preservation Alliance for his work on restoration projects.
He made many friends while working. He was himself a loyal friend, and he managed to maintain a surprising number of friendships with old school mates, former students and teachers, fellow K-State sports enthusiasts, buddies from fishing and disc golfing, professional acquaintances, and others uncatogorizable.
He liked music and dance, some television series and movies from his childhood years, guitar playing, nature, reading, and dogs. And to everything he brought his striking good nature.
Jim like to laugh. He was funny in conversation and was always good for wonderful observations about the minutia of daily life. He found enough in any newspaper to keep his friends amused for hours, and he topped that with often self-deprecating stories, some of which were repeated enough to earn classic status.
Those of us who knew him will long remember his stories about his being hit in a campus crosswalk by the car of a former student, for example, or about his failure to recognize that a London pub he visited was a leather bar, or (more recently) about a pack rat who every night built a new nest under the hood of his car.
Plans for a celebration of his life are pending.