This is Eli’s obituary published in the Centre Daily Times, February 2, 2016
Eli M. Roe: January 22, 1994 – January 29, 2016
Eli Roe (also known as Miriam), a gifted and loving person who courageously endured great distress, is now at peace. Eli, beloved child of John and Liane Roe, was born in Oxford, England and moved with parents and older brother Nathan to State College, Pennsylvania at the age of four. Eli graduated from State College Area High School in 2012 and was studying Rehabilitation and Human Services at The Pennsylvania State University.
Eli’s life was marked by compassion for others and love of justice. He worked for the Arc of Centre County supporting the needs of clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Eli was gifted with creativity and loved making historical costumes and helping fellow students to sew garb for the high school Renaissance Faire. He enjoyed playing the piano and expressing himself in poetry and song. He also excelled at designing interactive role-playing events for friends and enjoyed hiking and being outdoors.
During high school, Eli came to recognize that he was transgender. At a time when the concept was relatively unknown, Eli worked to educate others about gender identity in order to reduce the misunderstanding and discrimination experienced by transgender individuals. Eli had a deep yearning for God and longed for others to experience the love of Jesus. He was instrumental in founding “Receiving With Thanksgiving”, a Penn State network that welcomes and affirms people of any gender identity or sexual orientation who seek to worship Christ.
Eli used his dry and intelligent wit to laugh at himself, even as he suffered through bouts of crippling depression. Eli thought deeply about the sources of contentment, the often unreliable pathways of the mind, and the reasons for his mental illness. Last week, weakened by a viral infection, Eli suddenly found his condition too overwhelming to bear, and he ended his life.
Eli often said how grateful he was for the unconditional love of his parents and brother – “no-one could have had a better family”. Eli was thankful for the acceptance and encouragement of his British grandmother Judy Roe, his American grandmother Donna Stevens, and his five aunts and uncles and four cousins. Many friends and teachers also supported Eli in his struggle. He will be greatly missed.
A memorial service will be held Friday February 5, 2016 at 2 pm in the Eisenhower Chapel on the Penn State campus. Donations in memory of Eli or Miriam can be made to The Trevor Project (www.thetrevorproject.org) or to The Arc of Centre County (www.taocc.org).