Romeo family thanks Allee supporters
Tragedy struck the Romeo and Rohr families in early June of this year. Twelve-year-old Allee Romeo, who was just completing the sixth grade at Leland Public School, had been fighting an ear infection.
A sudden escalation catapulted that ear infection into pneumococcal meningitis. Allee was life-flighted from Traverse City to Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. Allee’s young body was not able to fight the fierce onslaught of these powerful bacteria. On June 3, with her parents and grandparents at her side, Allee peacefully passed away.
The Leland School Community hosted a memorial service honoring Allee on June 11. This celebration of her life proved a magnificent tribute to a young girl so filled with promise.
Allee’s 12 short years overflowed with eclectic interests ranging from her intense desire for learning, with her already-established goal of becoming a doctor, to a love of acting and singing in theatrical productions, to giving of her time and talents as a compassionate and empathetic friend, to her drawings of her original Perry Fish designs and other artistic creations, to playing a leadership role in her community’s rowing club.
The memorial service was like none I’ve ever witnessed, though I’ve taught for many years in the private and public school systems in central Ohio. The program was highlighted by touchingly appropriate and meaningful songs, dances, recalled memories, and words of wisdom and consolation. I’ll forever remain in awe of this microcosm of talent, and the spirit in which the participants, and indeed the entire community, gave of their time, gifts, and resources to honor one of their own.
I am aware that much of the impetus and organization of Allee’s memorial was a direct result of the leadership of Superintendent Jason Stowe. No ship sails smoothly without a devoted and dedicated “can-do” captain.
From what I observed, Jason Stowe is that kind of leader. He seems to care deeply about his “crew.” He gives of his time and is an active presence in his community. The fact that Mr. Stowe drove to Grand Rapids to support the parents and family of a dying Leland School student, tells me a lot about his character and commitment to the students and their families.
This dedication and concern is unique. I have found it almost nonexistent in other school communities. Our family is grateful for Jason Stowe’s total involvement.
We’d also like to thank Allee’s sixth grade class, her teacher, Michelle Irwin, and all of the Leland students who so selflessly gave of their time, their skills, and their love to make the memorial an event no one will ever forget.
Our family found both the memorial service and the luncheon impressive. Even more impressive, though, were the people who made it a point to personally seek us out to offer kind words, share memories of Allee, and to assure us of their prayers and condolences.
Thank you and may God bless you all. Our family feels blessed by each of you, who in your own wonderful and personal ways, have lightened our intense grief.
— Author is the great aunt of Allee Romeo.