Willian Zacharias Roper Draft
Kali Roper IU H106 5/22/09
Dr. William Zacharias Roper was a strong Navy officer, accomplished businessman, loving father and husband, and a loyal friend. Dr. Roper led a fascinating life that included being a very active part of his community. Dr. Roper might not have been a “celebrity”, but he left a lasting impact on the lives of every person with whom he interacted.
Bill Roper was born on February 2, 1937, to Irvin Moore Roper and Isabella Louise Vath Roper in New Orleans, Louisiana. He grew up in Slidell, Louisiana as the second oldest of eight children. His older brother died at the age of seven of leukemia leaving Bill as the oldest. As a child, he grew up on a farm in the swamps of Louisiana; this gave him his hardworking values. He attended Slidell High School, where he was an accomplished athlete, particularly in track and football, and an excellent student. He graduated in 1956. After high school he went into a four-year pre-dental program, which he completed in two years with four twenty-one hour semesters. He immediately followed with dental school at Loyola University, which is now LSU Dental School. At Loyola, Bill was selected for the Loyola University chapter of Blue Key National Honor Fraternity. He was also a member of the student council, C. Victor Vignes Odontological Society, Psi Omega dental fraternity, and held the offices of president, vice president, and chaplain of the university’s Junior American Dental Association. In 1959, while still in dental school he married Elaine Teresa Fuelling at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida.
Upon finishing dental school in 1961, he went on active duty with the Navy, having served in the reserves while still in school. In 1962 Bill and Tedde Roper along with first-born son Mike moved to Yokosuka, Japan where they spent three years. While in Japan the Ropers had two more children, Lori and Jerry. When he returned to the states, Bill served at the Great Lakes Training Center, outside Chicago, Illinois until he resigned his commission in the Navy due to his acceptance into the orthodontic program at Indiana University. While in Indiana the last of Bill’s four children, Greg, was born.
In 1968 Bill and Tedde Roper and their four kids moved to Marion, Indiana. At first Dr. Roper worked with the Davis Clinic, then, after a short time moved his orthodontic practice to his own office. He and Gerald Guy designed an office that was contemporary for its time. As you can already see, Bill led a full and busy life; but his life in Marion was just as busy and full of impact on the community.
One of the impacts on the Marion community was the house that he remodeled. In 1968, Bill also bought twenty-five acres of land that he cleared by himself. This twenty-five-acre plot of land is still owned by his wife. The house on Bocock road was bought in 1972. The addition he put on this house in 1983-1984 made it the largest house in Grant County. Dr. Roper saw this “project” as a way to give back to his community by providing jobs. Another impact he had on the community was his orthodontic practice. He enjoyed providing orthodontic services to families in Marion. He was very passionate about his patients. He had an incredible knack of remembering names and faces. To this day people remember and appreciate the care he gave them.
Dr. Roper also had a passion for the local high school, Marion High School. He was president of the booster club for over twenty-five years, and is now recognized by one of their scholarships, along with another one from his friends and family. His passion was mainly Marion Giants sports. At one point he helped raised twelve thousand dollars for new uniforms and equipment for the sports teams. He tried to attend many of the out-of-town games and did attend almost all the home games. He watched, with pride, one of his sons become an all-state football player and valedictorian of his class and another an all-state track athlete and basketball champion. But athletics were not his only passion. Academics were very important to him. He used to tell his kids that “A” was acceptable, “B” was barely acceptable, “C” was not acceptable, “D”-- don’t come home and “F”—well, you can probably guess. As a result of these standards all of his children graduated with academic honors. He was also chairman of the United Way, and the first chairman ever to exceed his goal in funds—exceeding 331 thousand dollars.
Bill Roper was a strong member of the Republican Party, and he served as a precinct committeeman for over twenty-five years. He campaigned for many successful politicians. Even though he grew up in the predominantly Democratic south, he saw things in the members of the Democratic Party that disturbed him so much that as a high school student he started the Young Republicans group. He was passionate about his morals and values; if Bill Roper said he was going to do something he did it, and he did it right!
Life was not all work for Bill, though. He had many hobbies and filled his free time with the things and the people he loved. He loved to hunt, fish, cook, garden, and collect coins and stamps. His family always came first and he would do anything for them.
William Zacharias Roper was a loving, compassionate, hardworking, unselfish man who always put others first, a man with a big a smile that could light up a whole room and a big heart to match it. He lived his life giving back to, and supporting those who gave to and supported him. His memory and the impact his life had will live forever in the hearts of those who knew him, and in many of those who didn’t know him.
“Hi Grandma.” E-mail to the author. 2 May 2009.
Roper family scrapbook