Rose Campbell Lancaster

June 18, 1926-May 23, 2013

Rose Campbell Lancaster

(Obituary with additions by Mel Oakes)

Rose L. Campbell Lancaster, our loving wife and mother, passed away on Thursday, May 23, 2013. Rose was born in Atlanta, Georgia on June 18, 1926 to Graham Fulton and Rosa Weibel Campbell. She was raised in West Point, Mississippi at the Mary Holmes School for Black Women, where her father was President(note–her grandfather held a similar position at a school for blacks in Virginia). After attending public schools in West Point, she graduated from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi with a degree in Spanish. Shortly after graduation, Rose moved to Panama, working for the United Fruit Company for three years. She studied Spanish Literature for a year at the University of Mexico in Mexico City and then continued her graduate studies at Tulane University, earning a teaching certificate there. While living in New Orleans, she met Jim and shortly after marrying in 1955, the newlyweds moved to Austin, Texas where they raised their four children, Liz, Jim, David, and Doug.

Rose lived a life of service to her family and her community. Her first job was teaching swimming during the summers, which spanned from 1956 to 1970. Throughout her life, swimming and playing tennis were her two active passions. While raising her four children, she was President of the Austin chapter of the League of Women Voters, served on the League's State Board, and served as a rotating elder at Central Presbyterian Church since 1971. She became Educational Director at Covenant Presbyterian Church from 1965-1971. From 1971-1986, she worked at Extend-A-Care as their first Executive Director, helping them to meet their mission of providing after-school care for children of working families. She helped expand Extend-A-Care's efforts from a single school to providing services at over 35 schools in the Austin area by the time of her retirement. From 1987-1990, she worked as Program Director for the Presbyterian Children's Home, and from 1990-1993, she was Interim Director of Manos de Cristo at El Buen Pastor Church, after which she finally retired from a full-time working career and began her full-time volunteer career. During the mid-1980's, Rose received several awards, including Rose Lancaster Day proclamation by Mayor Cooksey in 1986 and Church Person of the Year by the Austin Area Conference of Churches in 1986.

Rose's volunteer passions during the last 20 years of her life continued to include children as well as women‘s empowennent, border ministries, the indigent and the homeless. She was involved in countless committees and boards, and traveled extensively throughout the state and internationally during this time. She was a founding board member of Samaritan Counseling Center, Presbyterian Border Corporation, and Austin Human Services Association. She was a board member of the Trull Foundation for 28 years, and appointed Trustee Emeritus of the Trull Foundation in 2008.(Front row, left.)

Her interest in international work included two trips to Mexico, serving as official observer during presidential elections, and also involved women‘s empowerment issues with a trip to Kenya for Planned Parenthood International, a trip to Guatemala for the Center for Development and Population Activities, and a trip to Cuba for Population Institute. The Cuba trip was especially personal to Rose since she had traveled to Cuba right before her marriage in 1955, pre-Castro era, and was able to see the extreme contrast of Cuba 50 years later. She also served as Area Director for the Pan American Round Table, as board member for Raising Austin and Texas Impact, and was Chair Person for Mission Presbytery Border Ministries.

Along with several others, Rose initiated the Capitol Area Homeless Alliance, eventually serving as Chair of the Board, and also served as a board member of the Foundation For the Homeless, Austin Community Health Centers, Religious Coalition for Assisting the Homeless, Federally Qualified Health Center, and Travis County Hospital District Board of Managers. Being on the founding board of Front Steps, Rose was instrumental in the design of ARCH, Austin Resource Center for the Homeless. She was acknowledged by numerous awards: Jordan Award, Capitol Area Homeless Alliance, 2000 for outstanding volunteer contribution; Founder's Spirit Award, Conference of Southwest Foundations, 2008; Samaritan Counseling Center's Ethics in Business Award, 2008; Spirit of Compassion Community Scion Award, Foundation for the Homeless, 2009; Community Spirit Award, Front Steps, 2011; and the Texas State Senate Resolution Expression of Esteem for Rose Lancaster, 2011.

Through all of her leadership roles and commitment to family and social issues, Rose had a gentle spirit, a giving personality, and an optimistic outlook on life.

Rose will be dearly missed by Jim, her husband of 58 years, and the rest of her loving family: daughter, Liz (Kent Rockwell), sons, Jim (Nancy Wallace), David (Cella), and Doug (Lori), and seven grandchildren Chad (Kayla), Kody (Leslie), Matt, Grant, Kate, Kyle, and Doug, Jr. (DJ), and great-grandchild, Ava Claire.

A service to celebrate Rose's life will be held at one o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday, June 1, 2013 at Central Presbyterian Church, 200 E. 8th Street, Austin, Texas. Immediately following, all are invited to a reception in the adjacent Smoot Hall. Parking is available either on the street surrounding the church or in St. David's parking garage next door.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to either Front Steps (http;// or the Capital Campaign for Central Presbyterian Church (

From an article that appeared May 28, 2013 in the Austin American Statesman.


Lancaster was advocate for the poor, sick.

By Sarah Coppola

Rose Lancaster, a longtime advocate for quality health care and other services for the poor, died Thursday. She was 86.

Lancaster was part of the coalition that pushed to build Austin’s homeless shelter, Austin Resource Center for the Homeless.

She also volunteered for several health-related organization, including the board of Central Health.

“Nobody did anything in this town related to indigent health care without involving Rose,” said Toni Inglis, editor of a nursing publication at Seton Healthcare Family. “It always took political will and resources and they called Rose because she was trustworthy and knew what she was doing.”

Lancaster was born in Atlanta and raised in Mississippi. Her father was a Presbyterian minister who ran a school for African-American girls in Mississippi. That upbringing influenced her desire to help others, said her daughter, Liz Rockwell.

“She did what needed to be done, but in a quiet and gentle way,” Rockwell said.

Lancaster moved to Austin as a newlywed in 1955, raised four children and had several professional roles, including executive director of the after-school program Extend-A-Care. But she was always active in volunteer work locally, statewide and internationally, friends and family said.

Lancaster started several programs to help the homeless, including one that pays for the first month’s rent or security deposits to get people into housing, said Helen Varty, who used to manage Austin's homeless shelter.

Lancaster for several years served on a board overseeing Austin community health clinics, then became one of the original board members for Central Health.


Tribute to Rose written by Toni Inglis
Austin American-Statesman, June 1, 2013

She awoke every day ... to fight for a just and fair community.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, people will gather at the Central Presbyterian Church downtown to honor Rose Lancaster, who died last week at the age of 86. Lots of people. It may turn out that the Erwin Center would have been a more appropriate-size venue.

I first met her in the ’70s when my son, Burton, was enrolled in Extend-a-Care at Mathews Elementary. That’s when, for me, she went from being Ms. Lancaster to Rose. She was the original executive director of the after-school program for children with working parents, and she made quite an impression.

It was around the time of women’s liberation, and here was this tall, strong executive with a twinkle in her blue eyes who was as nurturing as she was competent. She staffed the program with “counselors” — UT students — who, like Rose, were full of energy and loads of fun for the children. During her 15 years with the program, Extend-a-Care spread to 35 schools and now is located on 68 campuses.

Rose served as program director of the Presbyterian Children’s Home and director of Manos de Cristo at El Buen Pastor Church before retiring from full-time work.

But it was Rose’s hours off the clock (when she wasn’t swimming or playing tennis) that may have made the biggest difference. She awoke every day of her adult life to fight for a just and fair community. She championed access to quality health and dental care, appropriate care for children, shelter and services for the homeless, women’s empowerment, border issues and other causes.

Our paths crossed again in the ’90s when we both served on the Indigent Care Work Team, charged with making recommendations to improve health care delivery at the Federally Qualified Health Centers. One day, Rose opened her paper planner to set a time for us to have lunch. Every single weekday morning and afternoon of the month had an advocacy activity planned. She laughed when I gasped.

Rose briefly hired my 13-year-old son, John, to teach her to use her computer in 1997. We visited at the limestone home on West 10th Street that she and her husband, Jim, bought in 1965. It was located across the alley from the iconic castle after which the Castle Hill Local Historic District is named. Her home was built before the turn of the century, and with its wraparound porch with great view, it was a marvelous place for Rose to live and raise their four children.

Her humor and gentle, respectful demeanor brought out the best in people. Her dedication and ability to find ways to further the mission of a worthy organization made her the ideal board member. She actively served on the boards of organizations such as the Trull Foundation, the local and state League of Women Voters, the Federally Qualified Health Centers, Samaritan Counseling Center, Presbyterian Border Corporation, the Austin Human Services Association, Presbytery Border Ministries, the Pan American Round Table, Capital Area Homeless Alliance, Foundation for the Homeless, Front Steps, Religious Coalition for Assisting the Homeless, Central Health … and more. A grateful community bestowed many awards on her.

Also in the 1990s, we were both active in the Austin-Travis County Citizens Health-care Network, a coalition of providers that held monthly forums to discuss community health care issues. Venola Schmidt, Helen Hill and Carl Siegenthaler (all deceased) formed the group. Meetings were attended by representatives of more than 40 organizations as well as city health care staff and Austin City Council members.
An ambitious and inspiring young doctor, Eduardo Sánchez, attended the forums when he served at chief medical officer and health authority for the City of Austin Public Health Department. “Rose — along with Venola, Helen and Carl — truly influenced the way I think about work and what I do,” he said. “They were committed, unwavering and expected government to do right by people. At times they were the conscience of the city.”

Sánchez went on to become Texas commissioner of health, chief medical officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and now the deputy chief medical officer for the American Heart Association National Service Center. “In my subsequent roles,” he said, “I find myself asking, ‘What would Rose do?’”

Like Sánchez and me, thousands of Austinites have stories to tell about their relationship with Rose Lancaster. She was always ready to listen or mentor and encourage you. All of us will remember the twinkle in her eye.

Toni Inglis, MSN, RN, CNS, FAAN, a retired neonatal intensive care nurse, is an editor with the Seton Healthcare Family.

Obituary James Garrard (Jim) Lancaster
(Austin American Stateman, December 8, 2013)

James Garrard Lancaster (Jim), our loving father passed away on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Jim was born in College Station, Texas on September 18, 1926 to Robert Roy and Helen Erma Douglass Lancaster, the third of five children. He grew up in College Station, Texas where his father worked for the A7M Extension Service. He attended A&M Consolidated High School, which was located on the A&M campus at the time. In 1944, he joined the U. S. Army Air Corp, was first stationed at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin and then, following the end of World War II, served in the occupation forces at Furstenfeldbruck in Germany.

Following his military service, he returned to what was then called the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College {nowTexas A&M University and earned his Bachelor's degree in Architectural Engineering in 1951. While attending A&M, Jim and his brothers were acknowledged in the Battalion, the school's newspaper for having all 4 brothers and 1 brother-in-law at-tend A&M at the same time; his sister playing in the Texas A&M Orchestra, and father working for the school. After graduation, Jim moved to New Orleans, where he met his future wife, Rose Campbell. They were married on February 25, 1955 and moved to Austin, Texas shortly afterward. This year, 2013, marked their 58th wedding anniversary.

Jim and Rose had four children while living in Austin: Liz, Jim, David, and Doug. They lived in north Austin for the first 8 years of their marriage before they bought and moved into their current home near downtown Austin. Their combined family interests included family camping, sailing, swimming, car trips, and the Church. Jim was committed to family gatherings and vacations which gave priority to the family. Sailing at Lake Travis was a weekly family occurrence, and camping trips in Big Bend National Park were a special event. Both Jim and Rose were avid swimmers and still have fellow swimmers who start off their day swimming laps at Barton Springs Pool.

Jim's individual interests included music, designing and constructing things with his hands, family history, architectural history and helping others. Jim started playing the flute in high school and played throughout his life, including playing duets with his sister, a harpist, at various events. He also was a member of the church choir at Central Presbyterian Church {formerIy First Southern Presbyterian Church) for over 30 years.

Jim's interest in designing and constructing things involved laminating and curving wood and making anything out of concrete. Jim also spent many years building houses for Habitat for Humanity and was a regular at the Church, working on maintenance projects and building things. His love/hate relationship with the 100-year old limestone historic house, where Jim and Rose raised their family and lived for 50 years, grew out of his interest in historic architecture and a desire for a lot of outdoor space. He was very proud of their house, with its incredible view of downtown Austin.

Jim donated over 15 gallons of blood to the Austin Blood Bank over the years. On December 13, 1983, Jim became a friend of Bill W. He started the Central group that meets at Central Presbyterian in downtown Austin at noon on weekdays and also met weekly with his friends at the Austin Resource Center of the Homeless (A.R.C.l-l) and the Del Valle Correctional Center. The family would like to thank those that he taught and that taught him to "keep it simple.” He is saving a seat for us at the big meeting upstairs.

Jim's career included working for a short time with Acme Brick Company, 20 years with the Portland Cement Association, 2 years with the Texas A&M Extension service, and 15 years with the City of Austin Engineering Department.

Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Rose (May 2013), and two of his brothers, Doug and John. Jim will be dearly missed by his loving family-sister Cynthia Cooper and brother Bill; daughter Liz (Kent Rockwell), and sons. J|m (Nancy), David (Cella}, and Doug (Lori); seven grandchildren Chad(Kayla), Kody (Leslie), Matt, Grant, Kate, Kyle, and Doug, Jr. {DJ), and one great-grandchild, Ava Claire.

A service to celebrate Jim's life will be held at one o'dock in the afternoon of Saturday; December 14, 2013 at Central Presbyterian Church, 200 E. 8th Street, Austin, Texas. Immediately following, all are invited to a reception in the adjacent Smoot Hall. Parking is available either on the streets surrounding the church or in St. David's parking garage entrance off of Trinity.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to either Central Presbyterian church ( ) or Habitat for humanity ( ).

Jim and Rose Lancaster