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WILMA W. ROUMEL



WILMA RUTH WOLFE ROUMEL
Born March 1, 1938 Bass, WV
Died August 13, 2013 New York, NY

Wilma was born sixth in a family of eight children in the rural mountains of West Virginia. She did not have indoor plumbing, and she rode in the back of a truck to attend a one-room schoolhouse. She attended Bass School when she was three because she wanted to be with her older siblings. Her mother, Lillian Thomas Wolfe, (d. 1953), was often ill and absent, so the children, especially the three girls, worked hard around the house. Wilma remembered baking bread at eight years old when she was too short to reach the top of the oven and had to step up on a chair. Her father, Ira Roosevelt Wolfe, died in 1979.

Wilma loved reading and was usually found with her "nose in a book." Wilma graduated from Moorefield High School in 1955. In her picture she resembled Ava Gardner. She was one of the first of her siblings to attend college, graduating from Shepherd University in 1961. At Shepherd she was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma. She received an Outstanding Student Award. She was also voted Homecoming Queen and TKE Sweetheart.

After graduating from Shepherd, Wilma worked as a schoolteacher in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She convinced her students that she had eyes in the back of her head. She met her future husband Aristotle Homer Constantine Roumel in DC through her dear friends Arlene and Richard Duprey. Wilma and Aris had a connection that was fiery and passionate.

Wilma and Aris had three children, Kiki (and husband, Ben Luna), Constantine (and partner, Mia) and Katie (and husband, Steve Gohl). Wilma had five beloved grandchildren, Joey, Luca, Aristotle, Persephone and Constantine.

Wilma graduated from George Mason University Law School in 1980. Before settling into the family business, Wilma worked at a law firm in DC and practiced law throughout the region. Wilma's primary career was with the family real estate business. She invested, developed, and managed commercial and residential properties in Maryland, Virginia, DC and West Virginia.

Wilma's siblings who predeceased her were Norman Wolfe, Marian Carpenter, Wendell "Dutch" Wolfe, Orville Wolfe and Doug Wolfe. Surviving siblings are Eva Wolfe and Forrest Wolfe, both of Moorefield, West Virginia.

Wilma lived on MacArthur Boulevard in Palisades DC for over forty-five years. She was an avid gardener and made strawberry jam every summer. She was active in her neighborhood association, where she was known to call emergency meetings of the moms when someone's child got into mischief. She hosted bridge games that lasted until 3 a.m. She also forged connections with both of her families: West Virginia and Greek. She loved them all and tried to keep people together through baklava, gossip and parties. She worked to conserve her home place on Wolfe Mountain in West Virginia. Wilma helped more than one person through divorce, firing or jail. She wrote countless wills and other legal documents for family and friends. School friends of her children repeatedly marvel at how welcome and cared for they felt by Wilma. She opened her house up to more than one child in need, and many lived with her on and off through the years.

Wilma was generous with her self, her time, and her money. She was matter of fact. She was strong. She was funny. She was a proud Democrat. She was rootsy and sophisticated. She loved opera and Shakespeare and eating fried squirrel.

Wilma leaves behind cherished nieces, nephews, grand nieces and nephews, great grand nieces and nephews, cousins and double first cousins. She treasured many beloved lifelong friends.

Interment private. Memorial services to be held mid-month in West Virginia and Rockville, MD.



Published in The Washington Post on Sept. 1, 2013
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