header 1
header 2
header 3

In Memory

Roger DeClercq (Teacher)

Roger DeClercq

Roger was born on May 8, 1922 in Barrett, MN. He lived in the Barrett area for his entire childhood. After high school he attended St. Cloud State College where he received his associates degree. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army. He married his sweetheart, Jeannine Ray, while going through training in Anniston, Alabama. Roger served in the army during WWII. He arrived in France ten days after the invasion at Normandy and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. After the war in Europe was over, he had attained the rank of Sergeant and was put in charge of overseeing the return of 1,500 POWs to their home countries. He was awarded the Bronze star for his efforts.

Once Roger was back home, he picked up where he had left off before enlisting in the armed services by finishing his education at the University of Minnesota. He was then hired to teach drama and speech at St. Louis Park High School. Through his teaching and directing plays, he inspired hundreds of students and gave many of them some of their most enjoyable experiences of their high school years. He especially loved teaching and directing Shakespearian plays and musicals. His students said that he made the writing of Shakespear’s early Modern English understandable. Some of the musicals he directed at the high school were: “Lil’ Abner”, “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Music Man,” “Oklahoma,” “Guys n” Dolls,” “Wonderful Town,” and “Man of LaMancha.” In the early 1960s, Roger was instrumental in organizing the St. Louis Park Community Theatre. He directed many plays and musicals for that organization as well including “Fiddler on the Roof” and “West Side Story”. “West Side Story” in particular was tough due to very difficult music and choreography. Roger’s productions were almost always met with rave reviews. From 1959 - 1962, Roger organized and directed plays for the Old Opera House theatre during the summer in the Madden/Rutgers resort area on Gull Lake near Brainerd, MN. He directed plays and musicals there that were smaller in scale than he did elsewhere since the theatre and stage were much smaller.

After he retired, Roger became a world traveler. He traveled to at least 18 counties on 5 continents. He especially enjoyed traveling with the Elderhostel organization. He continued to communicate with several friends that he made on those trips for many years. On March 14, 1987 he married Anne Anderson in Westby, WS. They maintained a home in Bloomington and one in Alexandria. He also returned to his home town, Barrett, MN, and directed plays in a historic meeting hall turned theatre, Roosevelt Hall. He was active in the theatre there and directed plays well into his 80s. Some of the plays he directed for Prairie Wind Players in Barrett were: “Because Their Hearts Were Pure,” “King and I,” “The Life and Death of Sneaky Finch,” “Annie,” “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” “Oliver,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Music Man,” “State Fair,” and “Inherit the Wind.” He enjoyed helping bring the love of theatre and entertainment to his home town.

Roger passed away on April 1, 2024 and Riley Crossing Senior Living in Chanhasen, MN where he had lived for almost a year. He was nearly 102 years old. Roger was preceded in death by his wives, Jeannine Ray DeClercq and Anne Anderson DeClercq. He is survived by his daughters: Michele Smiley, Nicole DeClercq and Darcy Hermel (David), seven grand-children, twenty one great-grand-children and ten great-great-grandchildren, two step-daughters, Cass Kwan and Judy Dixon Kupinewicz and one step-son, Mark Anderson.