Remembering Michael

Saturday, December 22, 2012
Susan and Kevin Rohan take a moment Friday, in the Johnson Elementary School library, to listen to daughter Lily read one of the new books the family is donating in the memory of son, Michael. Six-year-old Michael passed away following an accident at the Spencer Family Aquatic Center this summer. (Photo by Randy M. Cauthron)
Michael Rohan

Rohans memorialize son's love of reading

Kevin and Susan Rohan made a special Christmas delivery at Johnson Elementary School Friday on the final day before the extended holiday break.

When preschool through first grade students return to class at the school in 2013, they will have 17 special new books to check out.

"I read the whole book," daughter Lily, a kindergarten student at the school, told her mother, while sitting on her lap perusing one of the new additions to the library. "This book was cool."

"They're the coolest books ever," Susan responded.

The children's books are not "the coolest" because of the artwork or the text, but because of the young man they honor.

Michael Rohan, who would have celebrated his seventh birthday Wednesday, Dec. 26, passed away June 10, following a June 6 accident at the Spencer Family Aquatic Center.

Rose Fear, who taught Michael last year, and his younger sister, Lily, this year, said the books are a perfect memorial.

"He was a huge reader. He had a huge imagination and he did a lot with that through the books he chose at school," Fear said.

She continued, "His eyes would light up in the classroom when I pulled out a book and it was time to read. He loved books."

Michael's mother said he wasn't picky when it came to reading; he loved all types of stories.

"He would read anything and everything," Susan said. "He was reading to his preschool class."

"He just liked to read," Kevin added, noting Michael's favorite stories came from the Magic Treehouse series featuring Jack and Annie -- a third grade reading level. "He was collecting those."

"Kids down the road will look at these books and say, 'Who was this kid?'" Susan said.

"He will always be part of the school," librarian Susie Brinkley said.

Steph Anderson, assistant principal at the school, noted all of the books donated were paid for from the Michael Rohan Memorial Fund and each book will have a notation inside recognizing the former student.

"Other kids can enjoy books in memory of Michael," Anderson said.

Brinkley added, "Anytime we can get more literature into hands of students is a gift beyond words. We're so thankful for this donation. It is a very thoughtful gift from the Rohan family."

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  • That is a very nice and positive thing to come out of what was a very sad story. You have to commend the parents for what they did in honoring their son.

    -- Posted by cow man on Wed, Dec 26, 2012, at 6:52 AM
  • Kevin and Susan Rohan are wonderful people. I wish I would have met them under better circumstances. They have lived through a terrible tragedy and could have responded with bitterness, but instead chose to respond with love and grace, two qualities their son epitomized. I am so pleased to see Michael's legacy continuing!

    -- Posted by No. 3121 on Wed, Dec 26, 2012, at 9:06 AM
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