Harlene Jeanne Roles


(May 31, 1939 - Oct. 11, 2010)Harlene Jeanne Roles of Powell died unexpectedly on Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. She was 71.

Harlene was born to Harlan and Thelma (Smith) Sexton on May 31, 1939 in Cherokee, Iowa. She graduated from Washington High School in Cherokee in 1957 and then earned a bachelor's of arts degree in Vocational Home Economics Education from Iowa State Teacher's College (now the University of Northern Iowa) in Cedar Falls, Iowa in 1961. After teaching for two years in Clarion, Iowa she moved to Laramie to pursue a master's degree in guidance and counseling at the University of Wyoming, graduating in June 1964.

From there she was recruited by the Powell school district and took at job that fall as the guidance counselor for Powell High School.

In Powell, Harlene met James John Roles, originally of Towner, N.D., and they married on June 16, 1968. The following year their first daughter, Karen Jeanne, was born and Harlene left teaching to be a full-time mom. Four years later, daughter Rebecca Jon joined the family.

Harlene was a proud mom whose life centered around the activities of her daughters. She shared with them her love of education, reading and travel and was quick to share news of their success with others. She explored much of the United States while traveling with her daughters, sister Judy, and friends.

She helped her husband establish and run Roles' Welding from 1974 to 1993 and worked as a substitute teacher in the Powell schools in the ‘80s.

In 1989, Harlene returned to full-time work as a guidance counselor for Big Horn County School District No. 1, where she enjoyed nurturing her students and worked tirelessly to get scholarships and honors for them.

After retirement, Harlene focused her energy on volunteer activities, including Habitat for Humanity, Powell Community Services and Loaves and Fishes.

She was an active member of Union Presbyterian Church for all of her time in Powell. Harlene also spent much time enjoying the company of her cat Scamper and her grand-cats.

The recent arrival of her first grandchild was her greatest joy, and she eagerly spent a part of each day adoring and caring for him.

She is survived by her daughter Karen Roles and grandson Caleb James Roles of Powell; daughter Rebecca Roles of Arlington, Va.; sisters Judy (Lynn) Meikle and Luella (Bud) Sones both of Cherokee, Iowa; many nephews and nieces, numerous honorary grand-children and friends throughout the Powell community.

She was preceded in death by her husband Jim, her parents, her three brothers Wayne, Delbert, and Edward, and her sister Marion Ruring.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Oct.16 at Union Presbyterian Church in Powell at 10 a.m. Burial will follow at Crown Hill Cemetery.

Donations in her honor may be sent to Powell Community Services, P.O. Box 794, Powell, WY, 82435. The family also encourages gifts of food to Powell's Loaves and Fishes.

Thompson Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements.