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  • 'Sister' Hemingway, teacher, disciplinarian

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    'Sister' Hemingway, teacher, disciplinarian

    By GREG WILLIAMS
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published April 21, 2002

    ST. PETERSBURG -- Rosa Lee "Sister" Hemingway, a math teacher in public and private schools in Pinellas County for 39 years, has died.

    She died Saturday (April 20, 2002) at Bayfront Medical Center of a heart attack, her family said. She was 67.

    Mrs. Hemingway spent most of her career, more than 30 years, teaching at 16th Street Middle School. After retiring from public schools in 1996, she taught at the private Academy Prep in St. Petersburg for two years, ending her career in 1999.

    She had a reputation as a firm disciplinarian. Incorrigible students would get a few stern words in private -- she never wanted to embarrass a student in front of classmates. Next was a visit to the child's parents at home.

    She tutored struggling students outside of class, even on weekends, and handed out lunch money to those who needed it.

    Former students often stopped her to thank her, said Bob Anders, cofounder of Academy Prep. Students and colleagues recommended her to Anders when he was searching for a math teacher for his school for at-risk children.

    "They said, "Get Mrs. Hemingway. If you can get Mrs. Hemingway all your problems will be solved,' " he said. "If you walked into her classroom, there were not things going on not related to the subject matter. You were keyed in on the subject matter and that's what it was."

    She promised him a year but stayed for two.

    Mrs. Hemingway came to Pinellas County as a child from Brooklyn, N.Y. She was a 1952 graduate of Gibbs High School and a 1956 graduate of Clark College in Atlanta. She held a master's degree in mathematics from Columbia University and was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

    She is survived by her husband of 45 years, Samuel "Hoopie" Hemingway Sr.; two daughters, Princess Hemingway-Taylor and Samara Hemingway-Kinsey; two sons, Samuel Jr. and Romahn; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

    A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Bethel AME Church, 912 Third Ave. N.

    Creal Funeral Home is in charge.

    -- Information from Times files was used in this obituary.

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