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Sunday, August 20, 2023
4:00 - 7:00pm (Central time)
Monday, August 21, 2023
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Monday, August 21, 2023
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Normal - Martha “Jo” (Emerick) Ropp died, age 87, on August 15, 2023 at McLean County Nursing Home. She was born on the family farm near Lima, Ohio on November 21, 1935. Her parents were Marcus E. Emerick and Laverne (Mellinger) Emerick. She was youngest of four children: Carlton (Gathyl) Emerick, Roselee (Richard) Kennedy, Marc l. (Ramona) Emerick. Ramona survives along with many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews. Jo has two sons and a daughter-in-law, Martin Ropp and Jon (Julie Hochstatter) Ropp, all of Normal, also one granddaughter, Allison Coates of Richmond, MO.
Jo graduated from Bluffton College, Bluffton, Ohio with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education. It was there she met and married her husband, Ron Ropp of Normal, Illinois on August 26, 1956. She began her teaching career, teaching one year in Lima, OH and two years in Bluffton while still in college. In 1959 she taught in Elkhart, for three years while Ron attended seminary. In 1962 they moved to Fresno, CA. Where Jo assisted Ron in a pastorate and also taught in the public schools. In 1968 they moved to Claremont, CA where she taught for two years while Ron pursued his doctorate.
In 1970 they returned to Normal. Jo worked at the Law and Justice Center until a teaching position opened up in Unit 5. She taught at Oakdale and Colene Hoose until Northpoint opened up, at which the new principal said, “I’m taking Jo with me,” she taught there for nine years and was a Unit 5 Teacher of the Year in 1996-97. Jo’s gift for teaching was called upon by Mennonite Churches she was part of. She not only taught, but served on conference education committees and consulted with churches in the Midwest on curriculum. She was also Director of Christian Education at the Mennonite Church of Normal until a merger created the Mennonite Church of Normal in 1976. From 1986-1989 she worked to plan and direct the first major church convention to be held at ISU with some 10,000 participants the summer of 1989.
Jo loved children, which was manifested in how they responded to her. She had a special gift for working with special needs such as ADHD. It was not unusual for some of her 4th graders to invite her to their high school graduation parties.
She became the historian for the Ropp family tree, collecting information on some 6,000 people living and dead. She assisted Ron in his Church and healthcare ministries until a stroke disabled her in 2012. But it didn’t take away her witty and caring spirit, which was supported in the past 4 years by the great staff of the McLean County Nursing Home.
Visitation will be Sunday from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the Mennonite Church of Normal. Rev. Kevin Chupp will officiate the funeral, which will be Monday at 10:30 a.m. at the church with visitation thirty minutes before the funeral. Burial will be at the Mennonite Church of Normal (Ropp) Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Mclean County Nursing Home Employee Appreciation Fund, Mennonite Central District Christian Education, Mennonite Church of Normal, or the choice of the donor.