February 2023, by Chris Brummett

In Memoriam

On December 22, 2022, the park and recreation community lost the epitome of a citizen-activist in Joan Rokus. She taught physical education for several universities as well as schools throughout Loudon County (Virginia) and was an enthusiastic tennis player and teacher.

Rokus served as a member of the NRPA Board of Directors for nine years during which she played an instrumental part in securing the lease for NRPA’s headquarters when the organization made the move to Ashburn, Virginia. She also helped raise money for this move.

Alice Conkey, a former NRPA president, remembered her good friend Rokus as someone who, “had her fingers in everything. She displayed such great leadership in a quiet, unassuming, but forceful, way. She never got burnt out by the bureaucracy required to get public works done and always responded in her nice Pennsylvania way and legitimately just wanted what was best for the community.” Conkey added that Rokus’ involvement in securing the building lease, which made NRPA’s move of headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Ashburn, was “incredibly important and really helped to put the NRPA on the map as a national organization.”

Joan Rokus stands next to the W&OD Railroad Regional Park sign.Going above and beyond her professional commitments, Rokus was always seen and heard from at various board, community and legislative meetings for the causes and organizations that she was passionate about. She was the first woman to be elected as a Loudoun County supervisor for the Leesburg District and was recognized for her work on historic preservation and parks, including Virginia’s Temple Hall, Aldie Mill and Mount Zion Church.

Learn more about Joan Rokus’ life and accomplishments in her obituary published on legacy.com.

Chris Brummett is a Production Coordinator at NRPA


Top left: Joan Rokus, past board member of Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, takes part in a 2006 event where the authority took ownership of the Historic Aldie Mill. Photo courtesy of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
Bottom right: Joan Rokus stands next to the sign for the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) Railroad Regional Park. Photo courtesy of Lori Rokus and Jennifer Rokus Heath.

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