Velma R. Rouse, age 83, of Thornwood, NY died on April 27, 2018. She was born on March 2, 1935 in White Plains, NY to the late William and Ruth Boyles. She grew up on the top of a hill in North White Plains in a house her father built for her mother, part a family compound that spanned generations. She went to college at Buffalo State Teachers College in upstate NY to study art education. At Buffalo, she was the proud Captain of the College Gunnarette drill team, one of her earliest experiences in teaching others and the start of a life-long path as an educator. Art remained a passion of hers throughout her life, and her commitment to being an educator persisted. She was a long-time art teacher at Hawthorne Elementary school and found real joy in helping young children discover their own creativity. Many students in her home town will also remember her as a committed Girl Scout leader and Sunday School teacher. She always found ways to educate, often using art as an entry point and she was happiest when she was teaching. And she brought her passion for art to everything she did from making wedding cakes for friends, to sewing clothing for her children and grandchildren, to designing elaborate costumes and sets for costume parties with her friends.
There was another Art that was a passion, her husband Arthur James Rouse. They met at one of their early teaching jobs in Westchester County and shortly after were married in 1958. They were married for 44 years until Arthur passed in 2003. They shared a love of education and of life. Many an evening and vacation were spent with friends and family, especially on Cape Cod where they spent every summer since the 1960s. Velma loved escaping to the Cape for the summer and spending time with their many close friends there. She also spent much of the summer coming up with “honey-do” lists to keep her husband Arthur busy over the summer.
Velma also had other interests. She loved to play cards - bridge, military whist, hearts – but especially bridge. Her group of “bridge ladies” were a tight knit group and some of her closest friends. Preparations for hosting the bridge group were significant and she always looked forward to the next gathering. She loved family history and genealogy and tracked both her and her husband’s family back as far as she could. And she loved putting on amazing themed birthday parties for her children.
Velma was a lifelong member of the Valhalla United Methodist Church, following in the tradition of her parents. She was a committed Sunday School teacher, teaching all ages as well as communion and confirmation classes. She was an enthusiastic member of the bell choir for as long as she was able to participate and cheerleader for the choir when she was no longer physically able to participate. She brought her art talent to the church, helping to decorate it for holidays and making a child-proof nativity set out of recyclables and papier-mâché that is still being used today, decades later.
Velma was predeceased by her beloved husband Arthur Rouse in 2003 and is survived by her loving daughters Marjorie Rouse from Takoma Park, MD and Heather Maillet from Eastham, MA and also survived by her 5 cherished grandchildren, Kerrin Maillet, Annalise Maillet, Sam Maillet, Wilder Childs and Elena Childs.
A memorial will be Friday May 11 at Hawthorne Funeral home in Hawthorne, NY from 3-7pm, the funeral will be Saturday May 12 at noon at Valhalla United Methodist Church, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in her name to either Bethel Foundation http://www.bethelwell.org/support-bethel who took such amazing care of her in her final days and weeks, or Paws Crossed Animal Shelter, https://www.pawscrossedny.org who are finding a good home for her sweet cat Emma.
Paws Crossed Animal Shelter