Remembering Cokie Boggs Roberts '60

"Discover your particular gifts and develop your unique potential. If you are sensitive to people, care for them. If you are a scholar, share your love of learning. If you can create with your hands, give the world beauty. When you find humor and laughter in your life, give others your joy. The gift you have received, give as a gift."

- Cokie Roberts ' 60 (citing Life at the Sacred Heart, 1985, in her June 2012 Commencement Address at Stone Ridge)

Catherine Ronan Karrels '86, Head of School, shares her memories about Cokie.

Other Stone Ridge alumnae, parents, friends share tributes and memories:

I feel a profound personal loss with Cokie's passing. I have known her since she was about three or four years old and her older sister Barbara was in the third grade. In their younger years they attended the Rosary, the Sacred Heart School in New Orleans, for half the year and Stone Ridge for the other half of the year. Not surprisingly, Cokie stood out in her class, consistently taking top honors. After graduating from Stone Ridge she moved on to Wellesley College, but never forgot her friends and classmates, and never lost touch with Stone Ridge. When asked to serve on the Board of Trustees and she graciously accepted the invitation, then rolled up her sleeves and went to work with love, support and enthusiasm. It was great fun to have an old friend on the Board. When her career first began to take off, she said to me one day, "Now that I am in a public position and something of a celebrity, you need to make use of me." And so we did. And what a gift she was! I shall miss my friend.

Anne Dyer, RSCJ ‘55, Headmistress of Stone Ridge 1981 - 2007

I will never forget how lovely Cokie was to me when I met her briefly some 20 years ago outside an eyeglasses store on Rockville Pike.

I was on winter break my freshman year in college and leaving the store after picking up a new prescription. She was on her way in and after we passed each other, it dawned on me that my new glasses were not betraying me: "WOAH! COKIE ROBERTS..." I thought. "THAT'S who just thanked me for holding the door as she walked inside."

As I processed the encounter from out in the cold, I wondered how to go back in and say hello without appearing to be fan-girling...when that was exactly what was going on. I was a Stone Ridge Alum and a Journalism student... so Cokie Roberts was high up in my list of legends.

As I deliberated, pretending to look for something inside my bag while I devised my re-entry, time passed, and before I could muster up the courage to go back in, she came out with her new glasses in hand. Feeling like I had about three seconds to say something (anything?) before blowing it completely, I frantically delivered a run-on sentence to the tune of "Stone Ridge alum and Journalism student and a big fan and thank you for all you do and you inspire all of us female journalists" and she just smiled and extended her hand, almost as if hitting a "it's OK" button in me, and asked me to repeat my name. She then proceeded to ask me about all of it: journalism, college and how I was doing. She thanked me (ME!) for stopping to stay hello, and told me she wished me well. Somehow, I felt she really meant it. It was a tiny encounter that has always stuck with me. In my (now former) career as a journalist, I met many people, many worthy of similar fan-girling. But her grace, her kindness, her genuine intent to make me feel seen by her has always remained unmatched. And that's how I would always remember her every time I saw her on screen. Her warmth and kindness were her trademarks, no matter how fierce she had to be on the job. And fierce she was.

I received the news of her passing with a heavy heart. But the sweet smile she gifted me when we shared those minutes on a cold December day will always make me feel warm.

I wish you and yours much strength in this time.

Andrea Vieira, '94

Cokie is surely one of, if not the most principled people I have ever known. Even with all her name and fame, she remained true to herself, to her family values, to her faith, always humble, down to earth, natural, uncomplicated, while great. Cokie is truly and always a Sacred Heart girl. She was a born leader, whether a blue ribbon and a leader of the Gold team for intramural sports at Stone Ridge, or at Wellsley, or in the media. She shines as a beacon of light for all.

Marcia Murphy, PhD '60

Just wanted to let you know the Cokie was my "big sister" and mentor at Stone Ridge during my freshmen year in High School. I was so blessed! Also had the privilege of spending time with her family while they lived in Bethesda. My heart goes out to all of them as they deal with this loss.

Karolen Linderman

We are so very sorry to learn about the passing of Cokie Roberts. I first met Ms. Roberts when I was teacher at Holton. I brought my students to meet her at Politics and Prose. After her presentation, I stayed to say hello, and I will never forget how kind she was and how patiently she answered questions with such knowledge, humor, and grace.

My daughter became a student at Stone Ridge in the third grade. Our family attended the annual Christmas celebration at Hamilton House, and I was so excited to introduce my daughter, Gabriella, to Ms. Roberts, who attended the party and signed copies of her new book. Ms. Roberts chatted with Gabriella, while she told her about her love for Stone Ridge, about her work as an author, and why she felt inspired by our country’s founding mothers. Before we left, she told Gabriella that she would always have Sacred Heart sisters; I could see the impact of her words in Gabriella’s smile.

Cokie Roberts will truly always hold a special place in my heart, not just for her work as a professional, but for her living example of faith, intellect, service, community, as well as her kindness towards a new, shy little Gator. She was a wonderful woman and an inspiration, an example of what Stone Ridge girls, what any girl, can be and can accomplish.

Mariana McCormick, Stone Ridge parent 

What a lovely tribute of Cokie Roberts you have written. I am indeed touched.  I have been sad all day since learning of her death. I do not have any personal stories but always felt a closeness with her based on our shared love and support for Stone Ridge and our Sacred Heart values and education. I saw her at several Stone Ridge events throughout the years. She was a remarkable woman. I have been listening to the lovely remembrances being given by her friends and coworkers all day on NPR. She made an impact, a difference. She will be missed by so many.

Thank you for your lovely note to the Stone Ridge community.

Estelle Schumann Noone '71

And I will, of course, include Cokie and her family in my prayers.
I was at Stone Ridge in the Upper School from 1966 - 1970.
I always describe my education at Stone Ridge as an excellent experience.
The commitment of the Sacred Heart Religious to the education of girls and young women is extraordinary.
Thank you for that as well.

Mary Thomasch '70

She gave my commencement speech, Class of 1988. Inspiring woman.
I am a physician and she motivated me to be a trailblazer in all parts of my life.

Courtney R. Herbert, '88 MD, MPH

I will miss her quiet and unassuming manner at our Stone Ridge Christmas liturgies.  It was always a pleasure to see her participate so comfortably in our celebrations.

John Hogan, Stone Ridge faculty

Cokie was such a dear, kind, thoughtful woman with a wicked sense of humor. Her grandsons Cal and Jack came to Stone Ridge many years ago when I worked in Pre-K. We had so much fun as she and Steve would come on field trips and read to the class. I cannot tell you what a special lady she was. You said yourself she was committed to the Sacred Heart.

Such a loss.

Gillian Amoako-Atta, Stone Ridge faculty

Besides Stone Ridge connection, Cokie was a Bethesda neighbor who also moved into her late parents home.
She was also a great democrat. She was also a fabulous elementary school PTA president in the 1970’s in Athens, Greece where we both lived.
She was very generous especially with her time–to the Harvard Shorenstein Center on the Press where I once worked..

Marina McCarthy

My original introduction to Stone Ridge happened when my two oldest brothers who went to Gonzaga  became great friends with Cokie and her older sister Barbara.  They were both so nice to me, the little sister who wasn’t even in kindergarten yet!  I even had a copy of an old Stone Ridge yearbook that I loved to look at.  Over the years I have so enjoyed Cokie’s talks at many events.   She was so generous with her time and very kind with what she said.  Stone Ridge was very lucky to be able to have her attend so many events.  In fact the whole Catholic community in the Washington, DC area benefitted from her willing participation.   A few years ago she spoke at a Jesuit luncheon which was close to the last election and she was very interesting and diplomatic!   I was looking forward to her speaking at our Christ Child lunch in October.
Rest In Peace Cokie, and thank you so much for all you did for all of us!

Lisa Kirby Greissing SR ‘68

I am an alumna, class of 1998, and I had the honor of doing my Ffourth Academic internship with Cokie in January 1998. Shadowing her for a week in the ABC newsroom and seeing her prepare her reports was an incredible experience, which culminated in attending the State of the Union in the press gallery. Cokie was interested to know my impressions of what I had just seen or what she had given me to read and made me feel like my opinions mattered. I also remember Debbie Dingell stopping by our table at dinner before the State of the Union, and Cokie introduced her as being a fellow Sacred Heart alumna. I felt proud to be a Sacred Heart girl, just like them!
Please pass on my condolences to her family and may she rest in peace.

Thea Agape Lim '98

To the Roberts family,

I am so very sorry for your loss.  I am honored to have spent one week shadowing Cokie in January 1995 through Stone Ridge's senior internship program, which included attending the State of the Union address.  I was shy, awkward, and nervous, and she was incredibly kind and gracious to me.  That was an experience of a lifetime, and inspired me to major in Journalism at Washington & Lee, where I had my own radio show and was an anchor and reporter for the Rockbridge Report news program.  

Cokie was a role model for women, and I will miss hearing her put news in context with her incredible intelligence and wit.  She was the epitome of a Stone Ridge girl, and will continue to be an inspiration for me.

Sending my love and deepest sympathies.  

Sarah Rector Amigone

The memory that came to my mind was from my senior year (her junior year) when we were debating partners–Stone Ridge's team in the debating competition with teams from other Catholic high schools in the D.C. area.
One evening we had a victory over one of our strongest opponents. As soon as she and I got in my car, she looked at me with her great smile and said:  "I don't care how late it is, we need to go tell the nuns the news that we won!"

I was concerned that this unannounced visit might not be totally welcome, but I drove up to the front of Hamilton House.  We got out, Cokie knocked on the door two or three times.  When the surprised sister answered, Cokie "broadcast" the news that we had won. It was received with delight.  I think of that night as a foreshadow of how she would make a great difference in our country and our world broadcasting important news.

Pat Hickman Livingston '59

To the Roberts Family, 

Thank you for sharing Cokie with us for so many years.  I was so saddened to hear of your (and our) loss.

As a young staffer at the White House Press Office during the Clinton Administration and a former journalist, I was fortunate to cross paths with her over the years.  She was always smart, gracious, and kind.  I admired and respected her as a role model professionally and personally.  

Along the way, I learned that we were both Sacred Heart alums. Initially, I was surprised and then it made sense to me because she truly embodied the five goals of a Sacred Heart education.  

Her wonderful example will remain with us. 

Vicki Rivas-Vazquez
Alumna, Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart 

Facebook tributes

She was also visible at Duchesne in Omaha over the years. This is a lovely tribute, thank you.
Kate Bothe Schulz

Such a lovely spirit.
Mary Gayle Gurley

Outstanding person, loyal alumna, true daughter of Sophie Barat! May her example light our paths.
Lola Lema

I met her at reunion one year. May the angels lead her home and comfort her family.
Kathleen O'Sullivan Hurley

I am both sad and grateful for her wonderful persona and self-gift to so many persons.
Marilyn McMorrow RSCJ

A true leader and mentor of women ... not to mention her great Louisiana family. She will be greatly missed.
Kay DeFranceaux Leonard

Such a great loss.
Valeria Balfour '88

A true trailblazer and kind human being. She will be missed.
Maggie McNeil

She made us proud: What a woman!!!
Eileen Emerson-Boles
Will miss her wise insights so much; and still miss her wonderful sister Barbara, Manhattanville, 1961.
Constance Coleman

She was such an inspiration to faculty, students, and alumnae.
Maureen O'Hara Shupe

Heard her speak at a Stone Ridge graduation when I was 16 and admired her work for many years after that. A truly inspiring woman. A great loss, but an even greater inspiration. God speed, Cokie!
Todd Phillips

She was a wonderful & inspiring woman,
Melissa Vines Dwyer '92

We will miss her so much. I feel like I've lost a friend. And you sorry for your loss.
Althea Fusco

She was an inspiring woman.
Gail Koza

Great lady, wonderful journalist.
Bea Cadrecha

She was a true gift ,role model and Child of the Sacred Heart.
Noreen Thomas

Cokie was, above all else, an eminently sensible woman who spoke her mind forcibly and with authority, but always mindful of the fact that we are all fallible human beings. I had the pleasure of meeting her on a couple of occasions because I went to Manhattanville College with her sister, the late Barbara Boggs Sigmund. I also attended the wedding of Cokie’s son to the daughter of a college classmate. I feel very fortunate to have been educated by the Sacred Heart nuns, as were they, because we were taught, way back in the 1950s, that women would never be taken seriously if we sounded tentative and timid. The Boggs sisters obviously learned that lesson well! They lived lives of purpose that inspired so many; Rest In Peace, Barbara and Cokie.
Maura Eggan

I am stunned by this news as I think we all are. The last time I saw her personally, I was driving by and she was waiting to cross the street. I was banging on the window and waving at her, but she never heard me. If I had I been driving, I would have made sure she saw me! Cokie was special person and God rewarded her with a great career in broadcasting journalism and a wonderful family. Cokie was large as life here in Washington DC and will always be remembered for all her accomplishments in paving an easier path for women in the working world. God Bless and may she Rest in Peace.
Sally Linderman

She was a true SR girl. Blue Team and Pure Gold!
Mary Anne Burroughs Doms

A journalist! Fair! Balanced! Independent! Compassionate! Fact checked! True protector of the first amendment! Alum Extraordinaire! Blessed to have her as part of our lives!
Marie Amoruso

Cokie Roberts embodied the 5 Goals of Sacred Heart Education. Her life journey is the fruit of that rich cultivation and why we strive each generation to strengthen and spread our mission. Thank you, Cokie, your light will live on in all you touched! RIP!
Susie Canton, alumna parent, Trustee, alumna of Villa Duchesne, St. Louis, MO

Instagram tributes

Please accept our condolences. Ms. Roberts was our keynote speaker in 2017 at Josephinum Academy of the Sacred Heart. She will be missed.

Amazing role model for us mothers and for our daughters. I remember meeting her in 2016 with another Stone Ridge mother. She was happy to hear our daughters were SR students! She was also proud to have been on the Blue Team!!!

She gave our 1988 commencement speech. Inspirational woman,

RIP my fellow Gator and Journalist. Much love and respect.

Such a fantastic role model for Stone Ridge girls.

She will truly be missed, she was an inspiration to me.

A remarkable human who embodied all the values of a Sacred Heart education.