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Edith Roeder remembered for artwork



Edith Roeder, whose legacy may best be defined as an artist and a teacher, died on April 16 at age 103.

Last year, Roeder was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the fourth annual Art with a View fundraiser at Blue Mountain Resort, Palmerton.

A Palmerton resident for more than 40 years, Roeder took up painting to “share her pleasure” with those around her when she retired from teaching English in the Northern Lehigh School District.


The fourth of five children born in Rutherford, N.J., to C. Walter Crockett and Adele Smith, Roeder moved as a child to Lancaster, entering the public school system, graduating from McCaskey High School and then enrolling at Millersville State Teachers College.

She married Samuel N. Roeder and moved to Palmerton.

Active in the Palmerton community, she was elected president of the Palmerton Concourse Club, performed with the Neighborhood Players, and joined the First United Church of Christ.

She sang with the choir, became an elder, and served for five years as president of the church council.

A golfer, she was a member of the Blue Ridge Country Club, where she earned membership in the Hole-in-One Society.

During her 25 years of teaching high school English in the former Slatington School District, she was elected president of the Northern Lehigh PSEA and was asked to join Delta Kappa Gamma, an honorary sorority.

Chosen as a Master Teacher by the Education Department of Lehigh University, she taught for two summers in the internship program.

In retirement, she found pleasure by joining an art group, where she learned to paint in oils.

Pursuing this hobby when she moved to Allentown, she joined art groups, becoming a member of the Parkland Art Club, the Palette Club, and Lehigh Art Alliance.

She took an active interest by entering her art in group shows.

She was honored by the Baum School with a solo exhibition and recognized in 2013 with an award as visual Artist of the Year by the Allentown Arts Commission. Each year she displayed her work at Art in the Park.

Didn’t take no for an answer

Kristen Roeder-Lomonaco, of Gilbertsville, one of Roeder’s granddaughters, said she was always amazed by her grandmother.

“She was super hardworking,” Roeder-Lomonaco said.

“Grandma never took no for an answer.

“Her following of students was amazing to me.

“It was unbelievable the number of students who wrote and called and saw or purchased her paintings, attended her showings, mind blowing.

“She also sewed all of her clothing, hats, everything she wore, played the piano, there was never an idle moment.

“She was a teacher in every way.”

Carol Curcio, a member of the Palmerton Concourse Club who serves on several committees, said she admired Roeder.

“As an artist, she did beautiful work,” Curcio said. “She was so fun to be around.”

Curcio met Roeder at her exhibit at the Palmerton Area Library.

“The outfit she wore, she made herself,” she said. “She truly was creative, from head to toe.”

Elisabeth Leshock, of Palmerton, knew Roeder for many years.

“She started painting with a group I was in,” Leshock said. “She was always interested in painting to try all different things.

“She has a painting of Jim Thorpe that is very modern.”

Leshock said Roeder was “a woman with superb intellect.

“The year before when I went to see her, it was a pleasure to talk to her because all the sharpness and her intellect,” Leshock said.

“She was incredible. She was really an unusual woman.”

Hali Kuntz, of Walnutport, said Roeder was her high school honors teacher when she was a student at Slatington High School, and is remembered fondly by many, including former students.

“She was an excellent teacher, an excellent debate coach, and she was one of two teachers, who in 1971 started the musicals at Slatington High School,” Kuntz said.

“She also directed other plays in her 20-odd years at Northern Lehigh.

“For those plays, she often made some of the costumes.”

Kuntz added Roeder “was famous for having these set rules of punctuation. We all used them in our writing.

“Some of us have had the opportunity to go to some of her art shows for her paintings.

“She remembered us, little facts about us, even at her age, my husband (Ron) and I, she remembered us, which was very touching.

“She was a multitalented person.”

Talented woman

Janet Heck Salek, of Palmerton, who along with Kathy Fallow, co-chairs the Carbon County Community Arts Fund, said the organization holds fundraisers with artists and musicians for which the funds raised go to cultivate artistic endeavors throughout Carbon County.

“Edie and her husband were both friends of my parents,” Heck Salek said. “My mother, greatly admired her.

“She just was involved with so much, and she loved her teaching. She loved to talk about her teaching.”

Heck Salek noted Roeder’s paintings are prominently displayed throughout hospitals, banks, libraries, businesses and private homes.

She said Roeder painted two personal pictures for her mother, which she now has.

“She loved painting historical homes, historical buildings, she also did some landscapes, she really got into florals, and she would paint a lot of flowers from her gardens, she was an avid gardener,” she said. “She liked to do homes found in local towns, especially those in danger of being destroyed.”

Heck Salek mentioned her sewing skills.

“She really was quite varied,” she said. “She could just do anything.”

Community minded

She was active in the Allentown community, a member of the Garden Club; the Craftsmen’s Guild, she marketed hand-knit children’s sweaters and handmade dolls and volunteered as a teacher at Cedar Crest College.

Roeder leaves behind two children, a son David Roeder, and one daughter Ellen Thoma, several grandchildren, several great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

Her memorial service will be 2 p.m. on June 9 at New Goshenhoppen United Church of Christ, 1070 Church Road, East Greenville, with burial to follow in the church cemetery.

FILE PHOTO Edith Roeder, 103, died on April 16. Last year, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award in celebration and recognition of her accomplishments and contributions to the arts in Carbon County.
Edith Roeder's sunflower painting is one of many on display at the Art With a View charity auction on May 18, 2023, at Blue Mountain Resort when she received the Lifetime Achievement Award. FILE PHOTO