Rosemary  Knapp


Beloved Professor of Biology, Rosemary Knapp, died at her home in Norman, Oklahoma on February 3, 2019 after a long battle with breast cancer. She was born in Queens, New York on July 3, 1962, to Margarete Eva (Frank) Knapp and Ernst Josef Knapp. Her parents fostered her strong character and instilled in her the belief that she could do anything she wanted to do in life. As a teenager her love of animals motivated her to volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. Roe, as she was known to family and friends, attended the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, riding the subway to school each day. After high school she enrolled at Rutgers University where she performed groundbreaking research as an undergraduate and earned a bachelor's degree. She earned a master's degree at the University of Wisconsin at Madison studying animal behavior. She then went to Arizona State University, where she studied hormonal mechanisms of animal behavior. While at ASU she met fellow grad student Richard Broughton who became the love of her life. Roe and Rich were married in 1994. After completing her PhD in 1996 she received a National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health to continue her research at Cornell University.

In 1998, Roe and Rich settled in Norman, where they both began faculty positions in the Department of Biology at the University of Oklahoma. They began their family at that time, welcoming children Andy in 2000 and Victoria in 2003. Her research continued to focus on hormonal mechanisms governing reproductive behavior, most recently in sunfish. She made many insightful contributions to the field of neuroendocrinology, her work was published in the most prestigious journals, and she served in elected positions in the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology and the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology. She was passionate about science as a way of knowing and was highly regarded in the scientific community for her sharp perceptive abilities, her scientific rigor, and for maintaining the highest standards. At the time of her passing, Rosemary had served as Director of the Graduate Program in the Biology Department for more than 12 years.

Rosemary's warm and welcoming manner belied a fierce intensity that she brought to everything that mattered to her. She had an unwavering passion for her family, her work, and her friends. She was a strong advocate for women and for graduate students. Hundreds of graduate students, as well as many colleagues, attribute much of their success to her sage advice and caring mentorship.

Rosemary always loved nature and natural history, and loved spending time gardening, camping and exploring in the wild with family and friends. She was a loving mother and loyal friend and was a passionate advocate for balancing family-life and career. For all her accomplishments, perhaps her wonderful smile and cheerful laugh will be missed most.

She is survived by her husband Richard Broughton, children Andrew Broughton and Victoria Broughton; by her parents Ernst and Margarete Knapp (of North Port, FL); her sister Linda Knapp (North Port, FL); brother Peter Knapp (Phoenix, AZ); sister Ingrid Knapp, brother-in-law Lefteris Simijis and nephew Nikolas Simijis (all of Cranston, RI); mother-in-law Nancy (Roff) Broughton (Palm Desert, CA); brother- and sister-in-law Jack Broughton and Mindy Klubnikin; niece Kira Klubnikin; and nephew Michael Broughton (all of North Salt Lake, UT); and the family's ever-loyal golden retrievers Chico, Dixie and Dolly.

A celebration of her life will be held March 9, 2019 at 2:00 pm in the Beaird Lounge at the Oklahoma Memorial Union, University of Oklahoma.

Rosemary was a strong supporter of many social, scientific and environmental causes. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Nature Conservancy, the National Center for Science Education, or the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
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Published on February 14, 2019
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