Denise “De” Roggenbuck
A symbol of love, passion, hope and courage Denise “De” Roggenbuck was a bright, shining star in the development and expansion of who we are as Arts For Health Sarasota- Manatee, Inc. As a volunteer community based organization, Dee helped shape the organization as it is today through her participation as an active Board member with responsibilities of secretary and for a short while a Co-Chair. Dee’s mission and work was to lift up the role of the arts in our local community for individuals, organizations and institutions.
From an early age music was her passion as was helping people find theirs. She graduated from college with degrees in Social Work and Music Education and it was around those twin stars and her beloved family that De’s life rotated. Even her hobbies of sewing, playing a variety of musical instruments, cooking and quilting focused her passion on creativity and the arts. De taught music for over twelve years in the Central Florida area, then after earning a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from Rollins College, she and her family, husband Wolfgang, and daughters Sarah and Rebecca, moved to Sarasota.
Through her involvement in AFHS-M she decided to earn her Expressive Arts certificate from Ringling College in 2013 and it was during this time that her passion for art and healing crystalized. She interned at Manatee Glens in Bradenton and at Health South Rehabilitation Hospital in Sarasota. During these internships she learned how creativity and the arts can be used as a tool for positive health outcomes, healing and changing lives.
With retirement on the horizon and the possibility of more time to spend with family and Expressive Arts, De contracted cancer. For two years she fought this aggressive and insidious disease. During this time De practiced what she preached. She made art. Throughout her chemo and during the “brain fog” that followed, she drew and wrote about her experiences. She invited friends to her home for art days.
Most of all she shared her passion, her courage and her indomitable spirit through her art. Her works of art brought comfort to her family and friends when she compiled them in book form to share. In this way De left a visible path of her journey as a legacy of hope to those who came after.
AFHS-M, Inc. hopes to publish her book in the future through a grant and donations, and share it with other cancer survivors, their loved ones, and others in our community. We hope to use her book in workshops and educational forums to help promote the power of arts in promoting physical, emotional and spiritual positive health outcomes.
De was a close friend to many, a guiding light to others and a symbol of love, passion, hope and courage to all. We will miss her.