September 28, 1929 – July 12, 2008
Beloved Wife of
2006 National Senior Poet Laureate Kenneth Roller

“Connie” Roller passed away on July 12, 2008 in Citizens Memorial Hospital, Bolivar, Missouri after a 10-year illness. In 2006 she was honored by her husband, Ken, in a poem he entered in that year's National Annual Senior Poets Laureate Poetry Competition for American poets age 50 and older which is sponsored by Amy Kitchener's Angels Without Wings Foundation. The poem won the Senior Poet Laureate Award for the State of Missouri and then went on to also win the National Senior Poet Laureate Award.

Ken, now a retired minister, and Connie were united in marriage on May 29, 1949 in Anthony, Kansas. Connie taught school for five years before becoming a fulltime homemaker and mother. Connie and Ken had five children, 15 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

We are reprinting Ken's poem as a living memorial tribute.

Contributions in Connie's honor may be made to: Alzheimer's Association, Springfield Chapter, 1500 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, MO 65804.

Of Wine, Cheese, and Love

Love placed a trembling kiss upon
her soft and sensuous waiting lips;
compelled him often to drive for hours
to spend what seemed like moments with
his girl before the long trip back.
Love led them to the altar where
the two became one flesh, one hope,
one spirit until death intrudes.
Love spawned a growing family,
survived the tears and fears and jeers,
has flourished now for fifty years.
Love is the tie that binds them still,
bestows the kiss on faded lips
and smoothes the graying hair each night;
helps her recall the grandkids’ names
and where they’ve gone and what they’ve done;
finds her lipstick and her purse.
Love keeps her thinking he’s her hero
although his patience cracks and speech
comes out in martyr’s tones he wants
to cancel and return to some
word graveyard never to come back.
Love hopes all things, endures all things,
is more than what they thought at first.

By Ken Roller