Roxanna Lea Glass was born in Huntington, WV in 1969. She was the second of eight children of Mary Elizabeth Spaniol and Thomas H. Glass, Jr. She was a precocious child, reading at the age of four and playing the piano at the age of five. As a second grader she entered a PTA contest and received top national honors with a monetary award for a song she wrote entitled "Love Is." The next fall she performed this song at the West Virginia Parent Teacher Association state conference, receiving a standing ovation. By the age of eleven she was serving as the pianist for the children's meetings at church.
Throughout junior high and high school Roxanna continued to maintain high academic success while excelling in many other areas of her life. Academically she graduated as Valedictorian of her class, received the Presidential Academic Fitness Award numerous times, served as president of the National Honor Society , was a member of Mu Alpha Theta (a national mathematics honorary), was recognized as the outstanding mathematics student in her graduating class, was recognized for her outstanding achievement in academics and band at Lewis County High School, and received the Robert C. Byrd Scholastic Recognition Award. Roxanna won the Weston Rotary Club's "Letters for Peace" contest for a letter designed to promote peace in the world.
As a junior she represented her county at Rhododendron Girls State and was selected as a member of the West Virginia Honor Roll made up of 150 outstanding West Virginia students. (She was also chosen to participate in the West Virginia Governor's Honors Academy, but did not attend due to a scheduling conflict with the West Virginia Scholars Academy.) From the 150 Honor Roll students, Roxanna was chosen as one of twelve who were given the honor of being identified as West Virginia Scholars. These scholars took part in the month-long Woodlands Mountain Institute West Virginia Scholars Academy, and Roxanna completed the extensive writing and analysis required to graduate from that academy. For several years Roxanna served as a peer counselor/college writing tutor for other students seeking information about colleges, and she served on the Advisory Council of Woodlands Mountain Institute.
Music played a big part in Roxanna's life. She continued composing songs. As a ninth grader, Roxanna composed a song that was performed by her school's choir. She also wrote an arrangement for the band at that age, with parts for each instrument in the band. From the age of fourteen until leaving for college, Roxanna served as the organist for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Buckhannon, WV. She studied piano and organ, receiving honors at adjudications for performance as music as well as compositon. Roxanna began giving piano lessons at the age of fourteen. At this same age she received an Honorable Mention in an international song writing competition through the New Era magazine. She was a member of her school's band, playing flute, oboe, and French horn, and served as drum major. Through the gifted program, Roxanna arranged for released time from school to work on music composition with her piano teacher; she also worked with her band director to do independent study in the area of music theory.
In addition to her service as organist for her church, Roxanna held leadership positions in the organization for young women, presiding over various age-groups. During her high school years, she took a daily before-school class known as Seminary, and graduated with many "extra mile" awards. As a ninth grader she set her goal to read the scriptures each day. From then until the day she died, she had not missed a day. Roxanna served as vice-president of her school's Agape Club, a non-denominational religious organization.
Roxanna was involved in many school and community activities and organizations and was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" by her classmates. She was active in the Teens for Life association and lobbied in the state legislature for her cause. She was presented with the Youth Ideals Award for excellence in representing ideals that best project a favorable image of American Youth by the Fraternal Order of Eagles. One of her classmates, LCHS English teacher Lesley Garton, said, "She was one of the most successful people to come out of Lewis County."
After high school graduation, Roxanna attended Swarthmore College, a highly competitive college in the suburb of Philadelphia, receiving substantial financial aid. She was the recipient of Garrigues Fund scholarships and the Barnard Award in recognition of musical excellence which enabled her to commute on a regular basis to study organ under George Stauffer in New York City. She was also a Barnard Scholar. In the fall of 1990 Roxanna presented an organ recital at Columbia University in New York. One of Roxanna's flute compositions was performed by Lisa Wildman, a professional flutist. While a student at Swarthmore, Roxanna served as organist at the Broomall Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where she also taught a class of young children. She also remained active in many social causes while a student at Swarthmore. Summer jobs ranged from doing temp secretarial work to obtaining a research grant from Woodlands Institute.
Following her 1991graduation from Swarthmore with a Bachelors of Arts in music, Roxanna moved to New York City where she was employed in the Financial Aid office of the Manhattan School of Music. The following year she entered the doctoral program at CUNY in the field of music theory. She received her Masters of Arts degree with honors from Queens College in September of 1995. She was then completing her last semester of coursework for her doctorate in music theory at CUNY while she was teaching music appreciation at Baruch College in NYC.
As Roxanna pursued her studies, she also found time to work with off-Broadway productions, as well as serve as an organist, choir director, and chorister in her church, edit several books or portions of books, do secretarial work with a temp agency, and complete the job assignments related to her assistantship at CUNY. She also expanded her knowledge of foreign languages-- developing her competencies in Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, German, French, and ASL (American Sign Language). She worked hard in setting up and teaching literacy programs for deaf and Spanish speaking individuals. She served in leadership positions as education counselor to the women of her local and regional church, providing training and support to leaders under her. She was set apart as an ordinance worker in the Washington, DC temple.
Roxanna died in October of
1995 at the age of twenty-six as a result of injuries sustained in an accident in Manhattan.
Tribute was paid to her in memorial services at both her church and
her university in New York, as well as in the funeral service in her
home state. Friends and colleagues honored her through singing works
of her composition at these services as well as through tributes.