Priscilla Ann Roehmer, enjoyed singing, dancing

January 26, 2009|By ARIN GENCER

Priscilla Ann Roehmer, a barbershop-style singer who enjoyed square-dancing, died Jan. 17 at Lynn House of Potomac Valley, a nursing facility in Alexandria, Va. She was 72. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Priscilla Ann Mather was born and raised in Lexington, Mass., said her daughter, Alison Gabis of Fallston. She met her first husband - and the father of her four children - during her years at Ohio's Lake Erie College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English, Mrs. Gabis said.

After marrying Donald Pugh in 1958, she moved to Maryland, settling in Bel Air. While raising her children, she worked as a substitute teacher at Bel Air High School - sometimes for French classes, getting the chance to use a language she had spoken fluently since her youth, when she lived for a year in Cannes, her daughter said. She also worked as a receptionist at a Baltimore bank.

Her nearly 20-year marriage to Mr. Pugh ended in divorce.

In 1993, she married John W. Roehmer. The couple moved to Kingsville, where Mrs. Roehmer lived until she moved into the nursing facility, her daughter said.

Mrs. Gabis said Mr. Roehmer encouraged her mother in one of her lifelong passions: singing. Coming from a musical family, including cousins who pursued music professionally, "she's always been into music, and she's always loved singing," Mrs. Gabis said, adding that her mother took voice lessons as a child.

Mrs. Roehmer became a member of the Upper Chesapeake Chorus of the Sweet Adelines, a women's barbershop organization. The Sweet Adelines sang "Amazing Grace" at her memorial service at Bel Air United Methodist Church on Friday, Mrs. Gabis said.

Mrs. Roehmer also enjoyed square and round dancing. She also volunteered at TALMAR Gardens and Horticultural Center, a nonprofit organization that teaches landscaping, gardening and other vocational skills to people with disabilities. She initially came to help her daughter, who also volunteered there, and Mrs. Roehmer delighted in the work.

"She loved to help," Mrs. Gabis said, describing her mother as "very active, and very kind and giving."

In the past few years, she added, Mrs. Roehmer traveled the country with a friend, visiting the Grand Canyon and taking a riverboat cruise.

"She was definitely living," her daughter said.

Mrs. Roehmer is also survived by three sons, Jonathan Pugh of Seattle, David Pugh of Darlington and Steven Pugh of Abingdon; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by Mr. Roehmer.

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