American Society for the Alexander Technique
Rosemary Roberts/Earle (nee Bell)
28th October, 1929 - 22nd of October, 2021
Daughter of Dorothea Pyman Bell and Kenneth Bell.
Survived by husband Arthur Earle; Children Mark Alexander Roberts, Jennifer Eckersley, Melanie Dawson, Sean Roberts, 14 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.
Rome completed 2/3 of her training with F.M. Alexander. She is the last of those first-generation teachers - as far as we know.
Rome - she was always known as Rome though her name was Rosemary - was born near Hull in Yorkshire where her father had a shipping business. Her family lived in Yorkshire and then moved to London when he retired. During the war Rome was sent to Boarding School to be away from the bombing in London. She loved the school as it was in nature. Nature was very important to Rome all her life.
When she was 15 she followed her mother into the Alexander training course. She loved to dance but her back bothered her. Her mother suggested she should join the training so she did at Ashley Place with F.M. She loved the work but thought the others, who were older, were boring talking of horses and such.
She decided to leave the course and take up the opportunity she had been offered to go to Manchester where she studied, as well as touring Europe and Scandinavia, with the Laban School of Modern Dance. It was a two-year course run by Laban himself with Lisa Ullman. After finishing there she returned to her parents’ home near London and continued the Alexander Training at Ashley Place.
On 20th January, 1952 her first son Mark Alexander Roberts was born.
She continued working with Marjorie Barlow until she was called to go to America to help her older sister Heather who was pregnant and needed assistance in Ojai, California. There she remained, giving birth to her second child, Jennifer Eckersley on 2nd December 1954. There followed two more children, Melanie Dawson on 12th June 1961, and Sean Roberts on 2nd November 1963. She spent time raising her family, working in a preschool and doing some Alexander Teaching.
She traveled to LA to have lessons with Judith Stransky. Judith brought Patrick McDonald over and set him up with lessons for which Rome came from Ojai. After he went back to London he wrote to Rome and said it had been so nice to see her and that she should not call what she was doing the Alexander Technique. He offered to train her for a year in his course. In 1972 she accepted his offer and returned to London to complete the training in 1973. After completing her training, she returned to Ojai and taught for several years in California.
In 1979 Frank Ottiwell invited her to be a senior teacher on his training course at ACT in San Francisco along with Bob Britton, and Simone Biase. There she taught for 20 years in addition to her private practice.
While teaching in San Francisco she attended a Tai Chi workshop where she met Arthur Earle. They were married July 21st 1985 and remained devoted to each other the rest of her life.
For many years she returned to London regularly when she could, to take lessons from many first-generation teachers including Peggy Williams, Dilys and Walter Carrington, Patrick McDonald, Elisabeth Walker and others. Marjorie Barlow was her first teacher. She and Elisabeth Walker visited Frank’s course in San Francisco. Elisabeth and her daughter Lucia stayed with Rome and Art in Alameda during that time.
After teaching for 20 years for Frank in San Francisco, Rome taught with Giora Pinkas on his training course until she and Art moved to Southern California to be with her daughter Melanie and their growing family.
In 2006 she gave the FM Memorial Address at the AmSAT ACGM in Los Angeles.
Soon after that Rome and Art moved to San Diego. During her time with family in San Diego she taught private lessons to pupils and teachers and she taught with Alice Olsher on her training course.
Rome’s family was very important to her; she loved her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was always talking about them and made a lot of time to be with them.
She loved her Alexander world too. She worked to straddle both worlds. She was a valued teacher, trainer and colleague to all of us.
She will be greatly missed and fondly remembered.
Details of services will follow and will be posted on the website