Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Brett Roorbach

Brett Roorbach


Honored October, 2007

Elizabeth 'Brett' Roorbach

Even when she passed the 93-year mark in 2007, that still did not seem like enough time for all the things that Brett Roorbach had crowded into her life. She grew up in Massachusetts, and graduated from Radcliffe with an honors degree in science. With it she headed to Mexico, where she taught in an American school. Quickly she learned to love the land, the sun and the people. Soon the school closed, however, and she returned to her native state. But there she longed constantly to return to Mexico. Unable to find work, she chose New Mexico instead--gladly for her, and fortunately for New Mexico.

Settling first in Albuquerque, she was the respiratory physiologist on a medical team studying astronauts in the space program. Pursuing another lifelong passion, she also opened a photography studio. For a brief time she taught in Colorado, but then returned permanently to New Mexico, to teach math and science at Santa Fe Prep. There she stayed until her retirement in the late 1970s and was a great favorite of almost four decades of students. With boundless energy and enthusiasm, she led them on hiking trails and rafting adventures. She taught them how to identify flowers and birds. She inspired many of them to pursue careers in science and medicine, and prepared them well.