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Thelma Roper Bianco (Tulia)

February 27, 1940 — June 23, 2021

Thelma Roper Bianco (Tulia)

Thelma Roper Bianco was born to Preston and Inez Roper in Plainview on Feb. 27, 1940. She succumbed to death on June 23, 2021 in Broken Arrow, OK. In 1952, Thelma’s family moved to Tulia during her seventh-grade year.

Thelma enjoyed many activities the Tulia community and school had to offer including Methodist Youth Fellowship, band, ensemble, swing band, FTA, FHA, annual staff, and all-region band. Additionally, she was in a musical trio called the Rhythmets along with Barbara Otwell and Lynda Cagle who boasted beating the notable Buddy Holly in competition in a Plainview talent contest.

Upon high school graduation in 1958, Thelma matriculated to The University of Texas and subsequently finished her BS degree at Texas Tech with a major in Art Education in 1963. She taught at both Reese Air Force Base and in the public school system in San Angelo, and subsequently in the Arlington public school system. She received her master’s degree from Texas Women’s University in woodworking and paper textile relief.

Thelma married Anthony Bianco in 1968, and they lived in Richardson, TX before moving to Satellite Beach, Florida, where she continued to teach in public school until moving to Knoxville, TN. She taught Art Education and had multiple art installations at Maryville College until she retired.

Thelma was an adventurer and embraced her hobbies with enthusiasm. She was a pilot for many years and engaged in outdoor sports including boating, hang gliding, canoeing, skiing. She continued her love of music and through the years and enjoyed the pursuit of making various musical instruments (lap harps, mandolins, and other stringed instruments). She was an avid reader with multiple interests.

In retirement, Thelma organized and taught in her home studio the neighborhood women an extensive variety of ceramic, woodworking, welding, and stained-glass presentations. She also volunteered to play her keyboard for the area’s nursing facilities. Thelma was active in the United Methodist Church, Knoxville Art Association, the Gatlinburg Zoo, and in making prayer shawls for hospitalized cancer patients.

In 2017, due to her declining health, her brother, Doug, moved her from Tennessee to Broken Arrow, OK, to be close to family. He faithfully oversaw her care the past four years until her death. At a future date, graveside rites will be held in Plainview, TX, to bury her cremains in the Roper plot where her paternal grandparents and two Roper aunts are buried.

Thelma is preceded in death by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Guy Preston Roper; former husband, Anthony Bianco; sister-in-law, LaJean Roper; niece, Cari Roper McLarty; and a host of Roper aunts, uncles, and cousins.

She is survived by Doug Roper and Rodney Roper, Broken Arrow, OK; Hunter and Lauren Roper and daughters Reese and Wylie, Oklahoma City, OK; Hayley and Jeffrey Brooks and daughter Isla, Centennial, CO; Gay and Bob Doan, Frisco, TX; Lisa and Greg Dyar and sons Andrew, Peter, and Thomas, Austin TX; Amy and Patrick Lorenz and children Catherine, Allison, and Luke, Frisco, TX; Patrick and Meredith Doan and daughters Ellie and Julia, Blacksburg, VA; and Matthew and Alexandra Doan and children Cash and Sarah Doan, Bellaire, TX.

Memorials may be sent to First United Methodist Church, P. O. Box 330, Tulia, TX 79088.

Online Condolences may be made at

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