Trailblazing local educator, activist, councilmember dies at 78

Rosa Hereford (right) with her niece, Sylvia Ireland. (Family photo)
By  | 

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Flags will be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset Thursday in Killeen in honor of a trailblazing educator, activist and councilmember Rosa Hereford who died on Nov. 17 at the age of 78.

Hereford became the first woman to serve on the Killeen City Council after her election in 1984 and went on to serve six distinguished terms from 1984 to 1990 and from 1991 to 1997.

She was a force to be reckoned with on the council as she “didn’t get pigeon-holed on issues one way or the other but always seemed to see the whole picture,” longtime friend Horace Grace said Wednesday.

“She was very compassionate and of high integrity and character.”

Hereford taught and served as a counselor in Killeen schools for more than 30 years.

Not only did she serve Killeen, but the state, as well when she served on statewide education committees under both Gov. Mark White and Gov. Ann Richards.

There were so many great memories and joyous times I had with Aunt Rosa Lee,” one of her nieces, Sylvia Ireland, said in post on the funeral home website.

“My favorite memories were when Aunt Rosa Lee took me (as a child) to dancing school and her science class where she was a teacher; when she encouraged me to take an IQ test and helped me discover the score was higher than I thought and boost my self-esteem; gathering at her home with family for the holidays listening to her wisdom and banter while eating her home cooked meals,”

Hereford just recently accepted the Golden Deeds Award in Killeen, and “She deserved all the kind words spoken of her as they are so true,” Ireland said.

Visitation is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home, 1615 S. Fort Hood St., in Killeen.

The funeral service is at 11 a.m. Thursday at Greater Vision Community Church, at 2000 East Stan Schlueter Loop.

Hereford will be laid to rest alongside her late husband in the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.

Hereford, who was born on Dec. 24, 1940 in Kingtree, S.C., moved to Central Texas with her husband James and the couple stayed after he retired from the Army in April 1975 at Fort Hood,

James Hereford died in April 2011.