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Monroe hailed for loving ways

October 25, 2005|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

tiffanya@herald-mail.com

The City of Hagerstown held a tribute Monday for the late community leader Ruth A. Monroe.

Mayor Richard F. Trump and city council members Lewis C. Metzner and Alesia Parson-McBean hosted the tribute at City Hall.

Monroe died of cancer Oct. 19.

"She built this community one child at a time," Metzner said. "Instead of spreading around millions, she has helped millions of children, spread around."

Monroe was the executive director of the Memorial Recreation Center for nearly 20 years, retiring in 2004. Her daughter, Norma Pompey, is the center's acting executive director.

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Arthur Hicks, one of the center's board members, addressed the audience of about 10 people.

"Don't try to be like Mrs. Ruth," Hicks said. "You've got to find your own destiny, try to make an impact on the world like she did."

On Monday, friends and family of Monroe shared memories of the woman most people knew as "Nanny."

"Nanny, Annie, Ruth Monroe was a woman who had agape love," said the Rev. Victor Fowlkes, Monroe's nephew. "She had no conditions with her love. There was nothing in the way. She just loved."

Fowlkes said Monroe took him and the rest of the young men in the family - whom he referred to as the "Park Place Crew" - to basketball and football practices on Sundays, when the women were off to church.

Fowlkes, who spoke on behalf of the family, said the rest of the family was unable to attend because they were at Monroe's viewing. The public viewing was at 6 p.m., after the tribute.

Pompey said Parson-McBean has been helpful to the family since Monroe's death.

Parson-McBean, known as "Le Le" to the Monroe family, said she wouldn't have run for City Council if it weren't for Monroe's influence.

"She was a great mentor of mine," Parson-McBean said. "People were always seeing me as one of the people from around the way or as one of the six Parson girls. She was one of the few people to treat me like I was different."

Parson-McBean said she promised Monroe she would do everything in her power to keep the recreation center open.

The tribute will be shown today at 3 and 5 p.m. on Antietam Cable channel 6, with additional broadcasts throughout the week, said city spokeswoman Karen Giffin.

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