Daniel Victor Roumagoux February 10, 1938-July 30, 2020
Daniel Victor Roumagoux, 83 Passed away of complications related to a stroke in Newport, OR on July 30, 2020. He was a 4th generation Oregonian. He was born to Percy Francis Roumagoux and Camille Stanley on February 10, 1938 in Pendleton, OR. He was a college graduate from the University of Oregon with a Ph.D class of 1974. In 1960 He married Sandra Newton-Roumagoux in Stevenson, WA by the justice of the peace. They had 2 daughters, Ramona Roumagoux-Goddard and Charmaine Roumagoux-Leclair. Daniel taught elementary and jr. high school, then university and community college mathematics. Daniel was a member of Atonement Lutheran Church, the Newport Cub Boosters, AARP Tax Aide volunteer in Newport.
His hobbies included renovating homes purchased and being a college basketball fan. He was an O.S.U Beaver Believer and a University of Arkansas Hog.
Daniel is survived by his wife Sandra Newton-Roumagoux, children, Ramona Roumagoux-Goddard and husband Jeff Goddard of South Beach,OR, Charmaine Roumagoux-Leclair Naderi and husband Ali Naderi of Charleston, South Carolina, grandson, Bill Elliott Christensen of Portland, OR. He is preceded in death by his father, Percy Francis Roumagoux, mother, Camille Stanley and Aunt Marie Roumagoux.
A picnic in memory of Daniel will be scheduled at a later date. And notification will be in News Times.
And now, some memories written from daughter Charmaine.
“My dad had a love and empathy for animals of all kinds, and there was never a moment where he didn’t have pets, from his collection of chinchillas, the several fish tanks, and the steady stream of cats and dogs who, as time went by, he would lovingly lay to rest in the backyard pet cemetery that he had charted carefully on graph paper. He taught me how to pick up and hold a cat…. “And be sure to pet it after you set it down, so that it knows you are not mad at it” he would say. One cat, Nasty, had caught twelve gophers in the backyard, and my dad froze them and would feed them to her as a treat. One time my mom told me, while they were in Southern Eastern Oregon on a camping trip, where no one was around for miles, he got out of the truck to move a rattlesnake to the side of the road so that it would not get run over.
He loved gardening and subscribed for years to the magazine Organic Gardening. I marveled at how he could grow sunflowers. He would can the vegetable harvest in mason jars, and occasionally try his hand at cooking homemade ketchup from his tomatoes, which, I am sad to say, tasted like vinegar, and had the consistency of water, but I would volunteer to eat it just to make him happy. He was much more successful at his homemade root beer which could be marketed nowadays under the Le Croix brand of carbonated water with a hint of flavor, but at least it was drinkable. My dad did not have the most refined palette. When I shop in the grocery store, the items that instantly bring him to mind are the huge blocks of Velveeta cheese, 64 OZ boxes of powdered milk, canned evaporated milk that he would put in his coffee, the family size garbage looking bags of generic breakfast cereal rice puffs, and of course, the infamous dessert, frozen chocolate layered cake that we all agreed to rename “cardboard cake.” I can only imagine what his homemade beer and wine tasted like, since I was never allowed to taste it. His proudest achievement in the garden was the blueberry bushes that he planted in the backyard in Fayetteville, Arkansas after he dug out enough huge rock in the annoyingly rocky soil to build a deck off the back porch, which he did all by himself.
Which bring me to the other amazing talent he had, my dad was able to do endless repair, remodeling, and refurbishing projects. I watched him tear down a wall in the kitchen, then move the upstairs toilet pipe over three feet, and add several electrical outlets, and put an extra door in the Fayetteville house on Vandeventer Street. For home, this was an ordinary project. One day I asked him “How did you learn to do all of this?” He responded, “Well, there’s this thing called a library… where they have these things called books. I read them, and that’s how I learned.”
He was a math teacher and specialized in elementary education. He taught me how to tell time, how to ride a bike, how to play chess, and how to dribble a basketball. While he worked on his dissertation for his PhD, he would use me as a guinea pig to test out his theories for how children learn math. I can remember him incessantly asking me “But how do you know that?” after I would solve his math problems. My sister, Ramona, and I would ask for help with our algebra homework after we were desperate. Because we would only want to know the answer, but instead we would get an hour long lecture starting with “Okay, 2 plus 2 equals 4”… and on and on and on…until we would tormentedly implore, “Can’t you just tell me the aaaaaaansweeeeeer?” before he would finally reveal the solution.
When I was 18, my dad taught me how to drive, which any parent should be given extra credit for. I learned on his treasured 1963 Volvo (stick shift) in the parking lot of the Razorback stadium. He grimaced every time I ground the gears. At one point after my tenth lesson, I wondered if I would ever get out of that parking lot, but daddy was very patient. Then we went together in 1982 in response to an ad in the classified for a used 1973 Pinto station wagon. They wanted $700. He offered them $600 cash and we drove away in a car that later got crashed into twice (both the others fault) and he found parts at a junkyard, and fixed Mr. Pinto both times. After buying my first car, he gave me hand me down vehicles for my second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth car, until I finally went and bought myself a decent Toyota Corolla that lasted me for ten years.
My dad loved to play games of any kind, board games, and family silly games to make each other laugh like charades or Old Man’s Soup. When we were teenagers he brought a foozball table. He would challenge my sister and me to team up and oppose him on one side of the table, while he played left-handed against the two of us with his right hand behind his back. He usually won!
My dad influenced my education throughout my life. In elementary school, my teachers wanted me to skip fourth grade. But he didn’t think it was good idea to permanently be a year younger than my peers. So he suggested that I spend two years in fifth grade instead. I have always been grateful for that. Years later I skipped my senior year of high school and went directly to my freshman year at the University of Arkansas where he was a tenured Assistant Professor. He needed to sign some of my registration forms at the registrars’ office, and while we walked there, I was 16 at the time, a few weeks away from turning 17, he asked me “Are you sure you want to go through this?” I said, “Yes, why?” and he replied, “Because you are just a little wimp.” In spite of what it sounds like, I felt so much love when he said that. I was very touched. Then, after 14 years of college, when I was at the very last phase of writing my dissertation for my Ph D. program, I had run out of steam. I was telling my dad this on the phone and he said very matter of fact, “If you don’t finish your doctorate, I am going to ring your neck.” I never told him this, but that one sentence, indicating that all my hard work made a difference to him, was all I needed to make it through the final stretch to earn my doctorate degree.
I always look forward to going home for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. At the time he died, my parents had been married 60 years, which meant that it was not easy for either of them to get anything passed each other when it came to playing Santa Clause. But one year, when I was in my late thirties, my dad figured out how to get a lithography printing press under the Christmas tree without waking anyone up, not even my insomniac mother. My mom was genuinely shocked when she pulled away the wrapping paper. We were all mightily impressed at how he pulled that off. When my mom asked him over and over how he got it into the living room, which involved multiple creaky staircases, and apparently the help of other muscular people, I will always remember his Silvester-the-cat smile of satisfaction and pride as he sucked on a candy cane, and responded, “I am very sneaky.”
My dad was a fan of college basketball, and starting when I was in seventh grade, we had a running tradition of going to every single home game for the Razorbacks at the University of Arkansas for six seasons straight. No matter how much snow and ice had fallen, or how bitterly cold the wind was blowing, we would head out with our homemade popcorn and spend the evening calling the hogs with 9,000 other fans. “WOOOOOOO PIG SOOIE!” We would come home and bore my mother to death as we relayed the entire game play by play. This ritual culminated when the hogs were in NCAA final 8, and we watched on TV the game that would qualify them to enter the Final Four. As the final buzzer rang, the score was Hogs one point under, and Ulysses Reed threw the ball as hard as he could from behind the center line, and incredulously, it went through the basket! Both of us jumped up and down screaming our heads off in disbelief. That was a game for the history books. Later, decades later, I came across others who had watched that very game and still remembered how exciting that final basket was. That was a great way to end our calling the hogs time together, as it was then that my university studies began to eat up my free time.
My dad’s taste in music was typical for someone born and raised on a ranch. He enjoyed the talented country and bluegrass stars of his day, Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt, Roy Clark, Hank Williams and my favorite of the genre, Roger Miller. When I was six and seven years old, we would sing the entire album of Roger Miller’s greatest hits together. Because he played the LP so many times, we both had it memorized. To this day I can still remember the lyrics to “King of the Road,” “Dang Me,” and the song that would make us both giggle, “You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd.”
In 1994 my parents accompanied me on a trip to Mexico, years after I had lived there playing cello in a professional orchestra. I needed to collect research for my dissertation. My dad had been studying Spanish and it was fun to watch him practice what he had learned with taxi drivers and waiters. But it was nerve wracking for him, so one morning at the hotel room we shared in Mexico City; he got on his knee to beg me to be the Spanish speaker for the day. My mom took a photo of him doing that while I scratched my chin in consideration.
When I was in my forties, my mom asked us for help redecorating the upstairs bathroom in their hundred- year old house in Newport. The wallpaper had somehow melted into the plaster walls, and my dad and I spent two solid days scraping off quarter size chips of wallpaper, and then another two days putting on several coats of paint. I wasn’t too impressed with the color of paint my mom had chosen, and commented “This looks like the color of a rotten yellow artichoke.” But he responded, “I have complete faith in your mother to choose the perfect color of paint.” I had to agree that he had a good point. And it did end up looking really awesome in the end.
When I was five years old, we had a long-running routine. He would come home from teaching junior high school math; I believe it was 3:30pm every afternoon. I would hear him come through the front door, id stop whatever I was doing and run as fast as I could, leap at him with a big jump, wrap my arms around his waist and squeeze his tummy as hard as I could. He would pretend that I was too strong and groan “Ohhh you are too strong, I’m suffocating!”That would make me laugh and I would try to squeeze him even harder.”
So, Daddy, I would do anything to squeeze you as hard as I can just one more time, I will have to wait until it is my turn to enter the front door of heaven to join you. I’ll try to make it there by 3:30. I Love You.
-Charmaine Roumagoux Leclair, Ph.D., University of Oregon, 2005. Charleston South Carolina
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