Roxanne Yvonne Van Pelt Gasaway, 61, found peace on January 10, 2016. Roxanne was born in Houston, Texas and lived there until moving to Georgia in 1985. She was one of the first deaf graduates at the University of Houston where she majored in journalism. She leaves behind her a body of poetry and short stories. Roxanne loved nature and enjoyed photographing beaches and scenic views. She loved animals, especially horses, and formed special, mutual bonds with her service dogs. Her strong faith and close family ties were cornerstones in her life. Roxanne battled NF2 her entire life, yet lived fully and without cynicism. She had humor and unfailing generosity of spirit. Her intelligence and innate dignity were matched only by her courage and resourcefulness in the face of overwhelming adversity. She was an inspiration to all who knew her Roxanne is survived by her brother, Dwight Van Pelt II, her sisters Lucia A. Van Pelt and Kwinci K. Bender, and her lifelong partner Mark Gasaway. She is pre-deceased by her father, Dwight Van Pelt Jr. and her mother Yvonne L. Kenneth. Well, done, Roxanne. We love you and we will miss you so much.

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  1. I have only known Roxanne through my dear friend Robin Titterington and really only after Roxanne was some years into the illness that would eventually take her life. I was always amazed at what Roxanne tried to do even after many in a similar circumstance would have given up trying. She was a beautiful — even eloquent — writer and I thought it was a shame that she didn’t get to do more of that — perhaps even publishing a memoir. She had a good mind and a kind heart. I was privileged to call her my friend.
    Gertrude Beal

  2. I too was privileged to call Roxanne my friend. I have tea towels that she painted for me some time ago. One has a cardinal and one has a sunflower as we shared a common interest and delight in both. Every time I look at the tea towels I will remember her. Rest in peace Roxanne. My sincere condolences to her family during this time of sadness.

  3. I was blessed to have known Roxanne for the brief time we spent together, she never let her illness stand in the way of what she wanted to do, she was very independent and active to the end. She cared about her friends from the heart. I was very privileged to have been not only her caregiver but also grew to love her as a friend. Rest in peace my dear friend

  4. Mark,
    You have my deepest sympathy in the loss of Roxanne. You two have always been a very special couple, and an inspiration to lots of people. Even with the physical problems that you both have faced, you have never seemed to consider yourselves as being handicapped. Maybe God bless you and comfort you. I love you, buddy. You’ve been part of our family for a long time.

  5. My Dear Roxanne,
    The past few days have been filled with memories. I remember you in the crib as a newborn, and how surprised I was to learn that I had a baby sister. I remember you as a tiny girl with wispy hair and a sweet crooked smile wearing white majorette boots that were almost bigger than you were. You had eyes like saucers. I remember wanting to protect you from monsters after we saw a horror movie and I was sure that monsters were coming to get us. We were spared. You were so lovely as a young woman – tall and willowy with long hair that belonged in a commercial. As we grew older and your disease began to take hold my respect for you grew and was boundless. Your natural reserve and dignity, your incredible mental resolve, your kindness, your optimism, your humor and sharp mind all kept me in awe of you. Somehow you are one of the most grounded people I ever knew or will know. I love you deeply and I will hold you forever in my mind and heart as the person I most strive to emulate. Good journey my sister, my friend, my love.

  6. Roxanne was my sister and I loved her. Her courage and gentleness served as an example for me. I will miss her more than words can say.

  7. Roxanne was one of the most beautiful people I have known. Her courage, her inner strength, her determination, her care for her friends and family, and her positive outlook were an inspiration to all of us. I am honored to have been her friend and will remember her with love.

  8. Our secret world- that’s what I’ll call it because our bond is impossible to describe to other people. She molded me with her love and companionship. We did everything together: ballet, tap, karate, modeling, photography, watched old movies, explored new foods like Chinese & Indian. We examined the world around us together and often through a lense, …but it was so much more than that-transendent. She was so much more than that. Will I miss her? yes! Do I feel sad for her, No! She is free to start her next adventure and I someday I’d like to think she will take me with her once again, and we will explore together.

  9. I am just today Feb. 25 2016 finding out about my dear friend Roxanne. I met her in 1982, We shared NF2, a genetic disease. She & Mark came here to visit several times & I visited them at least twice.. We kept in touch by letters then in 2000 she gave me a computer that was replaced by a new one. It was the first one I had ever had & after that we emailed often. She & Mark came to visit the day her Dad died. I felt so bad for her…she was strong willed & was independent as possible. I had not seen her since the mid-1990s but we emailed often. We stopped emailing often because of her health but we did text some. On our last text I told her I loved her & I surely did. Rest in Peace, my dear friend.

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