Erna L."Rozy" Simek, 91
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Erna L."Rozy" (Rozmarynowski) Simek, 91, of Lafayette, died at 4:20 p.m. Friday, December 6, 2013 at University Place. Born September 25, 1922 in Milwaukee, WI, she was the daughter of the late Joseph and Erna (Roese) Rozmarynowski. She was preceded in death by her siblings Dorathy Peterson, Arline Reynolds, Joseph Rozmarynowski, and an infant sister, Joyce Rozmarynowski, and her husband Franklin E. Simek.
Rozy was a graduate of Bay View High School in Milwaukee, received her B.S. in 1948 from Milwaukee-Downer College, and earned her M.H.A. in 1954 from Washington University in St. Louis, where she met and married Franklin E. Simek, her partner in life. Rozy served with the United States Army Reserve, being honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant with the Women's Medical Specialist Corps., having also been awarded in 1946 the Emblem for Meritorious Service from the Surgeon General's Office War Department.
Rozy's professional life was vast. She was a Professor Emeritus of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, having served the university for thirty-one years, retiring in 1987 as an Associate Professor and Assistant to the Director in the Division of Allied Health Sciences for Manpower/Educational Program Studies. In 1983, the IU School of Medicine, Division of Allied Health Sciences, established the Erna Simek Annual Outstanding Student Award for the Occupational Therapy (O.T.) Program. Prior to joining the faculty at I.U., Rozy had served as an Assistant Professor and Director of O.T. at Washington University in St. Louis from 1949-1956.
Rozy was certified as an Occupational Therapist with the American O.T. Association. Her professional memberships include the American and the Indiana O.T. Associations where she held diverse leadership positions and served on numerous committees. Rozy also served as a member of the Governor's Commission of the Handicapped for the State of IN where she chaired various committees and was a member of the IN Health Care Association and the IN Society of Health Facility Administrators. Rozy was formerly active and a member of the Central IN Health Systems Agency and the Health Manpower Committee. She was a life member of the former Lafayette Home Hospital Auxiliary and served as Fair Co-chairwoman from 1967-1969, and a Vice-Precinct Committeewoman for the Republican Party in Tippecanoe County from 1961-1974.
Rozy's special honors include Who's Who of American Women in 1976, the Roster of Fellows of the American O.T. Association in 1978, an appointment to the Governor's Commission for the Handicapped in 1979, a reappointment in 1983, and Who's Who in Health Care in 1981. Rozy received several awards including the Registered O.T. of the Year Award in 1984 (given by the Indiana O.T. Association), the American O.T. Association Service Award in 1985, the Distinguished O.T. Service Award also in 1985, the Foremost Women of the Twentieth Century in 1986, and was recognized by the American Medical Association in 1987 with a Certificate of Recognition for Program Evaluation Specialists. In addition, Rozy was the recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash. Rozy professional career and achievements were an inspiration for her students and associates to use their education and talents, apply themselves, and make a positive difference in their field.
In addition to her career, Rozy, a devoted and observant Christian, was a member of Central Presbyterian Church where she served as church treasurer for many years and as a Deacon for two terms. Her love of music was to be heard in the choir and could still be heard into her 91st year, singing hymns at University Place.
Rozy is survived by five children: Judith (James) Benson, Franklin (Shirleen) Simek, Karen (William) Roberts, Sheryl Simek, Janice (Darrel) Peugh; nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Rozy was the matriarch of the family and cannot be replaced. She will always be well-loved, with her spirit and positive influence woven into posterity.
A family service will be held in Lafayette, as will a celebration of life commemoration in her beloved state of Wisconsin, where she will be laid to rest next to her husband Frank in the family plot at Graceland Cemetery in Milwaukee. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Central Presbyterian Church; the International Crane Foundation, P.O. Box 447, Barbaboo, WI 53913; or the Audubon Society of Tucson, 300 E. University Blvd, Ste. 120, Tucson, AZ 85705. Hippensteel Funeral Home entrusted with care.
Hippensteel Funeral Home, Inc.
822 North Ninth Street
Lafayette, IN 47904
Published in the Journal & Courier from Dec. 21 to Dec. 22, 2013