Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ruth Conroy, ME/FE Teacher, Villa Duchesne...You Will Be Missed!

I recently heard the sad news that one of my favorite high school teachers, Ruth Conroy passed away.  She taught Middle East / Far East History (ME/FE) at Villa Duchesne, and was one of the most influential teachers I have ever had.  I wish I could proficiently summarize everything I learned in her class.  Unfortunately, my memory is not likely to accurately detail the cultural, geographical, and historical facts and figures of the Eastern part of our world.  In her honor, I wish I could sit down and plot out the various cities, rivers, and countries.  Or, perhaps I could discuss the five pillars of Islam, or the difference between the Sunni vs Shiite branches of Islam.  Or, I would love to rehash the various Chinese Dynasties and rulers, or compare and contrast Eastern religions such as Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.  

But perhaps more important than the details, facts, and figures, I am so thankful that her class taught us to open our hearts and minds.  She inspired us to gain a greater understanding of the unique, fascinating, and dynamic aspects of Eastern cultures Americans so rarely seem to appreciate.  She taught us to read American media with a cynical perspective, always to question  the ever-present Western bias, whether there may be more to the story.  She challenged us to be open minded to cultures that seem so different to ours, and to ultimately value and respect them.  She had the unique ability to make these cultures, religions and mindsets relatable, believable, and respectable, particularly in the face of our Western prejudices and stereotypes.  She had a great, witty, dry sense of humor, that made the class engaging and interesting.  She was challenging, yet kind and fair.

I cannot think of many other classes that have taught me so much in life, beyond the academics of the classroom.  Particularly given the recent tragic events, and current heated political climate of relations with the Middle East, I try to keep a sympathetic and compassionate point of view when I learn about the struggles of these nations.

Although they are big shoes to fill, I can only hope someone can carry on the legacy of her teachings at Villa.  My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends as her life is celebrated in a memorial mass this week.

On behalf of Villa's alumnae... 

Mrs. Conroy, we will forever miss your teachings and we are endlessly thankful for your hard work, dedication, and care you have given us throughout your career.  

Sincerely your former Villa students ; )

Villa Grads, what was your favorite memory of Mrs. Conroy?

From Villa Duchesne Oak Hill FB Page... 
"It is with deep sadness that we share with you the recent passing of Ruth Conroy. The former Villa Duchesne Social Studies teacher will be remembered this Thursday, October 3 at 4 pm. We invite you to join us for a memorial mass in our school chapel followed by a reception."

From Oct 1, 2013 St. Louis Post Dispatch Obituary...
"Conroy, Ruth 72, passed away Saturday, September 21, 2013. Loving mother to John, Mike and Tim Conroy; cherished grandmother of Lauren, Olivia, Cami and Bobby Conroy and Fred's best friend. A lifelong educator, she retired from Villa Duchesne. Ruth spent countless hours mentoring students in her free time. She was a track coach, world traveler and writer. She will be missed by all whose lives she touched. Services: A Memorial Mass will be held Thursday, Oct. 3, at 4 pm, at Villa Duchesne High School, 801 S. Spoede Rd. If desired, donations to The Self Help Center, 8301 Crest Industrial Dr. 63123." 


  1. Claire, thanks for that post, it definitely reminded me of all that I learned from her. How lucky we were to have her as a teacher, even though I had no idea at the time!

  2. So true Jacqueline!! Thanks for your message! Hope you are doing well and enjoying the fall!