Alta Ovadia Roper was born on April 28, 1934 to Willam Henry Benson and Purnie May (Russell) Benson in Ottawa, Kansas. She was the younger sister to Mintie Mae, Mildred Lucille, William Otis and older sister to David Aaron Benson.
Alta was always a fun loving and caring child with a spicy sense of humor, having many friends wherever she went. She moved with her family from Ottawa, Kansas to Denver, Colorado at the age of seven, on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941. After moving to Denver, her family joined Campbell Chapel AME Church. Never forgetting her hometown, she often rode the train or Trailways bus back to Ottawa to visit her Grandmother, Aunts, Uncles and friends. Many summers, Alta and her Mother would travel to Princeton, Indiana to visit her Mother’s side of the family, with fond memories about her Aunt Mildred and cousins. Throughout her life she would tell stories of her times in Ottawa and Princeton with fond remembrance.
Alta attended Cole Middle School and Manual High School graduating with her senior class in 1952. Her path led her to a young Vaughn Roper, a soon to be Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army and the couple were joined in holy matrimony in August of 1954. Vaughn and Alta lived in Tacoma, Washington and she gave birth to their first son, Vaughn Kent. They then moved back to Denver where their other children were born; Stephen Arnold, Christopher Alan and Dana Lucille.
Alta was a devoted mother, raising her children in the Church, attending their sporting and academic events, encouraging participation in community events such as Highlanders, and caring for gardens at the Denver Botanical Gardens, Food banks, and always being available to help a stranger. Alta also became close to many of her children’s friends and their families over the years, and she was thought of as a second Mother to many. She would always make it a point to visit the sick in the hospital, bringing a robe and being an advocate for their care.
Alta worked tirelessly to support the Denver community. She was a strong advocate of desegregating Denver Public Schools (DPS), where she would hold meetings at St. Thomas Church and at personal homes to advance equal rights for all children. She volunteered with the Democratic Party and civic events; helping to host Shirley Chisolm’s visit to Denver. She worked as an Election Judge for decades, and helped in the election of Patricia Schroeder to the US House of Representatives, canvassed and walked for Mayor Webb’s election and campaigned for all of the Democratic Presidents. She worked so hard that Alta and her family were invited to President Barack Obama’s first term inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Alta was one of the original founders of the Denver Children’s Museum and for many years she was the President of the AFL-CIO Union for DPS Employees needing representation. Alta also was an elected member for the DPS Retirement Board and traveled to advocate on behalf of the members.
Alta’s full time job was working as a Matron with DPS. There she worked providing dignity to the facility, but also loving and helping the children who passed through the hallways, and discipling them when needed. There she also met many of her lifetime friends.
Alta loved her Church family, she was an Usher at Campbell Chapel AME for over 50 years.
She loved to shop, talk with her neighbors and travel, going as far as South Africa with the AME delegation on a mission trip for two weeks. She also traveled to Jamaica, Vancouver, and many Caribbean Islands.
She loved her family fiercely, and was always available to help them.
She was married to Vaughn for 56 years when he passed in 2010.
Alta was called home on January 21, 2023. She leaves a legacy of advocacy, commitment, light and love for all who knew her and benefited from her gifts.
She is preceded in death by her Parents; Husband, Vaughn; Son, Vaughn Kent; Granddaughter, Autumn Isabella Johnson; Sisters, Brothers, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.
She is survived by her Sons, Stephen (Gina), Christopher (Sandra); Daughter, Dana; Sister-in laws, Mary Curry (Dr. Ulysses Curry), Ellen Benson; Granddaughters, Krista Hill (Derek), Summer, Kayla, Journi, Jenesse, Olivia, Alexandra; great granddaughter, Mia; Son-in-law, Avery Johnson; Daughter-in-law, Nancy Roper and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews and friends.
To join live please click on the link to follow. Livestream Passcode: 219565