Jon K. Rust

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian and co-president of Rust Communications.


A good man, 'Mickey' Roper, whose influence is cherished

LaRoy “Mickey” and Susan Roper

Cape Girardeau lost a good man on Monday. LaRoy "Mickey" Roper died after a long and valiant battle with COVID-19. He was 77. Friends of the family have been praying for him for several weeks as he went on and off and then back on a ventilator.

I grew up with the Roper family and remember him as an intense businessman in my younger years. His wife, Susan, was the one more often involved in school activities with their talented children. But as I entered the business world myself, he offered me advice about establishing family priorities and not being consumed by work. It was not long after that I noticed him and Susan regularly walking on the sidewalks of Cape Girardeau, hand-in-hand, talking.

Before my wife, Victoria, and I were married, he and Susan were our pre-marital counselors, and their guidance was golden to us. We talked about spiritual gifts, healthy communication, the importance of honesty and kindness, transparency about finances and so much more. It was counseling about making Christ the center of our family, and scripture inspired the lessons. To this day, Victoria and I reference what Susan and Mickey taught us -- and we give thanks for their early mentorship. Together, they inspired. She was patient; Mickey was a little more prescriptive, even hard-headed as we discussed different paths. But all was shared out of love and a servant-heart.

Periodically, we would see the two of them at a dining place in town for a special birthday or reunion with children and grandchildren who had spread around the world. Probably the last time was at Pho-8 in Cape with bright, attractive, friendly faces all around. Joy and love and celebration seemed to be just part of their family ambience.

My family's prayers go out to the amazing Susan, who with Mickey marked their 56th wedding anniversary Sunday, Aug. 23. And to her loving family. There are so many wonderful memories to cherish. So much goodness to celebrate. And tears to shed, too.

After a distinguished career, in the early 1990s Mickey earned a degree in Biblical Counseling from Covenant Seminary. Together they influenced countless others.

Victoria and I are grateful for the time we had with a man who dedicated his later life to Christ -- and family. And it would not be an exaggeration to say that each day as my wife and I walk together in downtown Cape or on a nearby walking trail, holding hands and talking, even debating about life's happenings, there's always a part of me that thinks about Mickey and Susan Roper, and how their guidance shaped us. We send our love and prayers to the Roper family -- and to Mickey's sister Judy Wilferth and husband Rock -- and all who know them. He was a good and faithful servant. And he will be missed.

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian.