Helen Elizabeth McReynolds Rozier

Pioneering Preservationist

     Helen Elizabeth (Dee) McReynolds was born in Carthage, MO on October 23, 1907 to a notable local family. Dee, as she was known as a young child, was the daughter of State Senator Allan McReynolds (Hall of Carthage Heroes inductee, 2013) and Maude McReynolds. Elizabeth, as she was later known, was educated in the Carthage Public Schools and graduated from Carthage High School in 1925, where Marlin Perkins was one of her friends. After receiving an A.B. degree from the University of Missouri in 1929 she held a variety of jobs before becoming secretary/chief clerk of the Eleemosynary Board in Jefferson City. It was while working there that she was reacquainted with Senator George Rozier (they had been previously introduced through her father, who was a friend Senator Rozier). The two were married in an elaborate wedding in Carthage in 1941 with the Governor Forrest Donnell present.

  It was in Carthage that Elizabeth found her love of Victorian architecture and she soon became a strong advocate for historic preservation in Jefferson City. She served on, and created, many boards and organizations to promote historical awareness. She was a long-time member and three-time president of the Cole County Historical Society, and served two decades on the board of directors. In the late 1960’s, Mrs. Rozier initiated the campaign to save the Lohman Building, the Union Hotel, and the Christopher Maus House. She mounted vigorous objection to the demolition of these buildings, first through letters and later testifying to save them. In recognition of her efforts, the art gallery on the second floor of the Union Hotel was named the Rozier Gallery. She was also instrumental in getting many homes and buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mrs. Rozier helped to organize the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation, and was honored for her efforts in multiple ways. In addition to her work in preserving history, she was a member and leader of the Tuesday Club, Jefferson City’s oldest club; the University of Missouri Arthritis Center Advisory Council, the Arthritis Foundation, and presided over St. Mary’s Guild at Grace Episcopal Church. She served on the Missouri Library Commission for eleven years, serving five years as president. Two of the significant Honor Awards given annually by Missouri Preservation to honor achievements in the field of Historic Preservation around Missouri, The Rozier Award and the McReynolds Awards are named in her honor.

Mrs. Rozier and her husband had two sons and will be remembered as “dignified, as competent and gracious baiting a fish hook as she was testifying before a legislative committee”. She passed away at the age of 103 and is entombed in the Rozier Mausoleum at Riverview Cemetery in Jefferson City, MO.


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