Rebecca L. (Trowbridge) Blocher

A celebration of the life of Rebecca L. (Trowbridge) Blocher, 68, Lawrence, will be at 11 a.m. Friday, March 31, 2017, at First United Methodist Church, Lawrence, Kansas. Rebecca died Saturday, March 25, 2017, at the Kansas City Hospice House, Kansas City, Missouri, following a brief illness. Inurnment in Lawrence’s Oak Hill Cemetery will follow the service.

She was born January 4, 1949, in Ellsworth, Kansas, the daughter of Donald Louis and Josephine McKittrick Trowbridge. She lived in Wilson, Kansas, until 1957 when her family moved to Russell, Kansas. Rebecca graduated in 1967 from Russell High School and in 1971 from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in language arts education. She earned a master’s degree in 1996 in gifted and talented education, also from KU.

She married William Kim Blocher (Lt. Colonel USAF Ret.) on December 9, 1972, in Fairway, Kansas. The couple were stationed at Offutt Air Base in Omaha, Nebraska; Kingsley Field Air Base in Klamath Falls, Oregon; Ramstein Air Base in Kaiserslautern, Germany; and ultimately at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They welcomed their daughter, Erin Elizabeth, on May 15, 1981. The family were longtime members of Sunrise United Methodist Church in Colorado Springs. The couple ended their marriage in 1997.

Rebecca held civil service positions in the U.S. Air Force with USAF Europe Headquarters Manpower and the Air Force Academy registrar’s office. She also coordinated youth education for Sunrise United Methodist Church.

During her career as an educator, Rebecca focused on high-ability learners. She worked with gifted learners as an honors English teacher, a building program coordinator, and a district level coordinator, serving in districts in Kansas and Colorado. She worked as the director of gifted education for Denver public schools and, for five years, served as the director of gifted education for the state of Oregon. She also was active with the National Association for Gifted Children and its state affiliates.

Rebecca was known for her hearty laugh, sense of humor, social nature, and close relationships with friends and family. She was a loving and devoted mother.

Survivors include her daughter, Erin Elizabeth Blocher, Kansas City, Missouri; a brother, David M. Trowbridge, Wilson, Kansas; a sister and brother-in-law, Caroline Trowbridge and Alan Zimmerman, Lawrence, Kansas; and a niece, Sarah Zimmerman, Seattle.

The family suggests memorial contributions to the University of Kansas School of Education or Wilson United Methodist Church, sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, 66044.

15 Condolences

  1. Liz Thomas on March 28, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    This is truly a sad loss for our community, but this is due to the contribution she made through her joy in making discovery and growth possible for eager, bright young minds.

  2. Susan Schuckman on March 28, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Rebecca was truly an inspiration and I admired her love for gifted education and students. Working with her at KGTC i had a chance to witness this love and her knowledge on gifted education. She will truly be missed and such a sad loss. Prayers are lifted up for her family.

  3. Linda Wedge on March 29, 2017 at 6:11 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. I worked with Rebecca at Free State High School, and I admired her gift for transmitting her knowledge and her enthusiasm for learning to her students. I wish I would have known that we shared more than a love for English and education. My mother’s side of the family came from Ellsworth, Wilson, and Dorrance. Our school was enriched by Rebecca. With heartfelt sympathy, Linda Wedge

  4. Marsha Stoppel Morrison on March 29, 2017 at 10:41 am

    So sorry for your loss. Becky was my next door neighbor when she lived in Wilson. My Aunt Helen Miller Buckley and Becky’s mom were best friends from high school and throughout their lives. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  5. Mary Bunn on March 29, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    I worked with Rebecca at the Oregon Department of Education. She was a relentless champion for Talented and Gifted students and she was my friend. She told me all about her wonderful daughter Erin. She was happy to be going home to Kansas to work a few more years and then retire. I was so very sorry to read about her death in our local paper today.

  6. Steven and Jean Haas on March 30, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Our hearts go to out to you, Erin, David, Caroline, and your families, at this time of grief at the loss of Rebecca. We share in your sorrow. She was a child of Kansas but a citizen of the nation. Her sunshine will continue to light up our lives. We were fellow Kansans who found one another in Colorado and worked together in gifted education.

  7. Barb O'Neill on March 30, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    My deepest sympathy to Rebecca’s family and friends. I worked with her in Oregon and her hard work is still helping students today. She is so missed for many reasons, and will forever be loved and remembered.

  8. Dona Bolt on March 30, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    What a sad loss. Just yesterday I was remembering Rebecca when she worked at the Oregon Dept. of Education. She was funny, smart and a tireless advocate for public education and kids. My condolences to her family in her beloved Kansas.

  9. Janet Thomas on March 30, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    My family and I offer our condolences to Rebecca’s family. Rebecca was my son’s gifted education teacher at Blue Valley High School when Andrew graduated in 2005. Rebecca was a wonderful teacher and advocate for Andrew during this challenging time in his life. My husband and I believe that Rebecca’s care and concern for him was the most important factor in his success in graduating. Since that time, Andrew is attending KU and is a junior in Computer Engineering. I am thankful that I was able to share Andrew’s story with Rebecca the last time we spoke.Andrew, my husband and I are so grateful that Rebecca’s extraordinary gift of teaching were part of our lives.

  10. Sherry Crawford on April 1, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    I worked with Rebecca when she lived in Colorado. She was a brilliant, insightful woman with a wicked and wonderful sense of humor. I am so sorry for your loss. Too soon for someone with so much to offer.

  11. Angie DalBello on April 3, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    Erin, I was so saddened to read about your mother’s passing. We had so much fun working together at Blue Valley High School. There wasn’t a day that went by that she didn’t make me laugh. She could really get me going. Her laugh was contagious and once we both got laughing it was hard to stop. Your mom had such a great sense of humor. She was smart and witty and really could read people and situations well. I looked to your mom for advice and always appreciated her insight. She was a great woman.

  12. Brenda Ray Scott on April 5, 2017 at 12:11 am

    I had the good fortune to work with Rebecca during her time leading the State of Oregon’s work with Talented and Gifted Students. She brought significant expertise and a wonderful sense of humor to her job. Her work made a difference to students and their families statewide. Her willingness to work with Oregon Association for Talented and Gifted (OATAG) to promote opportunities for gift students and their families will be remembered. I also worked with her when, as a volunteer, I chaired the Portland Public Schools TAG Advisory Council. Rebecca will be missed.

  13. Kerri Sage on April 17, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    I had the privilege of working with Rebecca during her time at the Oregon Department of Ed. She was always available with support and guidance as we worked to meet the needs of gifted students in our district. I will always remember her wonderful sense of humor and the many times that she diffused a challenging situation with laughter. I often refer to her fabulous quote, “We may not be able to provide the Cadillac model but let’s see what we can do!” I am blessed to have known her.

  14. Paula Pena on April 20, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    I was out unaware that Rebecca was ill. I am so sorry for you loss. She is a wonderful person. I loved working with her here at ODE. She always managed to make me smile when I was having a bad day.

    I loved her encouragement and her wonderful way of always making everyone feel welcome.

  15. Victoria Garcia on April 25, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    I’m so sad to hear that Rebecca has passed on. My condolences to her daughter Erin and family. I will remember Rebecca for her larger then life laugh and her great love her to daughter Erin. She loved talking about Erin and was very proud of her daughter. Rebecca will be missed.

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