Shirley Anne Roos, 90, passed away on May 6, 2017 at the Grand Islander, after a lengthy illness.
Shirley Anne was the daughter of the late E. Kramer and Jessie Nicholson of Southbury, Connecticut. Coming from a centuries-long ancestry of Connecticut Yankees, whom she could name and cite in great detail, she grew up in Stratford, Connecticut and was a proud alumna of Connecticut College in 1948, where she graduated Cum Laude. The piano from age four was always Shirley’s instrument and she studied with wonderful teachers. In college she chose to major in English and minor in Music. The heads of both departments accused the other of “ruining her” by distracting her from her “true talent”. They were both pleased when as a senior she wrote the book and lyrics and co-wrote the music for a full-length operetta, Take Another Look; and then staged the production. She went on to earn a Masters in Opera Direction from Columbia University. In 1953 she married her devoted husband Casper. Shirley Anne was an accomplished professional musician, earning a living as an accompanist, choir director, organist, and vocal coach for over forty years. She was a principle pianist for the Amato Opera Company in Greenwich Village, NY for several years during the 1950s, and an accompanist for countless professional singers on Broadway. During this time she also coached John Dunlop and other singers at the Metropolitan Opera Company. She was one of the founders of the Clarkstown, NY, Summer Theater Festival in the early 1970s, an organization that thrived for forty plus years and produced over sixty plays and musicals, which nurtured the careers of many aspiring performers. In the ‘80s, she served as the president of the board for that organization. Throughout her life, Shirley Anne was a passionate teacher, and by her own admission her greatest joy in life was teaching voice and playing a part in the lives of many young performers whom she coached over the decades, some of whom went on to fine professional careers of their own. A devoted writer of short stories, poems and a letter writer without peer, she read even more than she wrote, keeping a library that will both bless and curse her heirs. She had an abiding interest in American history and museums of every stripe, and passed that interest on to her only child. She has been a resident of Newport since 2006. Shirley Anne is survived by her husband of 64 years, Casper; her son, Pieter; her daughter-in-law, Barbara; and her two beloved granddaughters, Charlotte Jessie and Annika Carolyn. A wake will be held at Memorial Funeral Home in Newport from 5:00-7:00pm on May 15th. A memorial service will be held at Trinity Church the following day on May 16th at 10:30am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Newport Historical Society, 82 Touro St, Newport, RI.
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