Betty Kropinack

Betty Ann Rogerson Kropinack, 92, of Swansboro, passed away peacefully Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, in her home.

Private family services will be held at a later date.

She was born to Eli A. and Esther Roebuck Rogerson in rural Martin County March 20, 1938, and was raised on a family farm in the Church Crossroads community. After graduating as valedictorian from Robersonville High School, she attended Duke University on an academic scholarship, majored in math, minored in physics and sang in the university choir. An avid Duke fan to the end, she got to see her beloved team win their basketball game Wednesday night. 

Her love of math was lifelong, and teaching was her calling; one of her earliest memories was standing on a sandy dirt road, in front of a semicircle with her baby sister, a few children of farmhands, various toys and small animals, teaching. But her genius was not limited to mathematics. The cryptoquotes and crossword puzzles in the Daily News, News & Observer and New York Times were one of her highlights. 

After one year of teaching eighth grade math in Tarboro, she met, fell in love with and married 2nd Lt. Robert Charles Kropinack. A devoted military wife, she raised their children while he served in Vietnam. Bob played soccer in college and the Marine Corps, and while living outside Atlanta, Ga., their kids, Sheri and Kirk, added soccer to their rotation of recreational sports. Later, the family moved to Swansboro with a support network of military families, where she was called to fill a temporary vacancy just days before the new school year started at Swansboro High School, but actually began a 20-year career in the math department. Spending many years as head of the department, she was one of the first teachers in Onslow County to be trained on the first TI graphing calculators, and she was involved in the beginnings of the county’s teacher mentoring program and its North Carolina Teaching Fellows Scholarship program. 

Her sports fanaticism went beyond Duke and the Atlantic Coast Conference. While living in Detroit, Mich., she learned to love hockey. While living in Atlanta, the family attended many Falcons, Braves, Flames (hockey) and Georgia Tech games. She attended all sports games at Swansboro High, both boys’ and girls’, even long after her own children graduated. While her name may be connected with the introduction of soccer to the area, few know Betty organized and coached the first Swansboro soccer team, comprised of Kirk’s Cub Scout troop, while Bob served in Okinawa. Few people have spent more hours on the sidelines of a soccer field since 1972 than Betty. She had the joy of watching Kirk’s successful high school and college soccer career, and the sheer thrill of seeing Kirk’s son and daughter also excel at the high school and collegiate levels. Her granddaughter Brianna is in her final semester at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, where she has been a four-year starter and two-year captain on the women’s varsity soccer team. Betty also made many visits to Carter-Finley Stadium with Sheri and her kids during her granddaughter Holly’s college years to see her play in the N.C. State Marching Band. She loved celebrating her grandchildren’s high school, college and military graduations, especially traveling to Yankee Stadium and Radio City Music Hall to watch Mallory receive her master’s degree from NYU.

Following her retirement in 1994, she began traveling the world - to Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Mexico, South Africa, England, France, Italy, Hawaii, Alaska, cross country (five females, 9-63, in a minivan for 25 days), multiple Caribbean and Central American cruises and a gazillion soccer weekends across the southeast U.S. and all the way to California. She spent most of her life post-retirement helping to raise her three granddaughters. Betty’s taxi service was always on standby for sport, music, Academic Derby and endless medical appointments, but she always had a suitcase and a bingo dabber at the ready for travel and fun with her best friend Hilda. Betty’s sense of humor was one of a kind, and she loved to make her family and friends laugh as much as she loved to laugh with them. 

She is survived by daughter, Sheri Kropinack of the home; primary caretaker granddaughter, Mallory Jones of the home; great-grandson, Blake Jones of the home; son and daughter-in-law, Kirk and Donna of Swansboro; and granddaughters, Brianna Kropinack of Swansboro, Holly Jones of New York City and Chelsea Jones of Newport; grandson, MK1 (E5) Dustin Kropinack of Port Canaveral, Fla.; granddaughter-in-law, Madesyn; great-granddaughter, Charlee of Appleton, Wis.; her beloved sister, Barbara James of Robersonville; and nephews, Charles and Mike James and their families. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bob Kropinack; and her infant son, Bart Robert.

In lieu of flowers, please send memories, poignant and funny anecdotes to bettykropinack@gmail.com

Arrangements are by Jones Funeral Home-Swansboro. Online condolences may be made to the family at jonesfh.org.

(Paid obituary)

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