Roene Bigler DiFiore
“The Heart of Dixie Spirit”
Roene Bigler DiFiore, June 25, 1921 – May 19, 1990, affectionately known as “Mrs. D,” humanitarian, a lover of education and ambassador to the arts had a compelling idea to build students’ self-image through singing. She believed everyone can sing. She did not expect her students to read music. There were no auditions and everyone was welcome. The music of the Dixie State College Program Bureau, established in 1967, came from zest and spirit. What did all this charisma do for her students? Roene’s specialty was to capture the lonely freshman, the awkward sophomore, the left out misfit and mix them with the student leaders to create a unity of friendship. She used piano, song, acting, and rhythm dance as tools to build confidence in her students. She knew how to find those who needed her the most. For many of her students she was the “frosting on the cake” of their education; for others she established a foundation for life, she “made all the difference.” But, most important, everyone went away feeling much better about themselves. And they now share this exuberance all over the world. She once stated: “You have got to enjoy living every moment you are alive. Have fun with the work you do and appreciate the people with whom you are working. Everyone needs to be and feel important.”
The Lord gave her many gifts and talents. She didn’t hide them, but she used them, shared them, and taught them. Roene loved her life, she loved her natural affection for teaching, she loved her music, and she loved to share it. “The reward, is seeing the development in the children I teach” she once said.
The legacy of this magnificent lady has now become a legend that has impacted and influenced thousands. She was always there to help that square pegged individual desperately struggling to fit into the round hole of society. A compelling desire to perpetuate “The Heart of Dixie Spirit” is entrusted to each of us by reason of association. “Just for Now,” The Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education has been established for the development of artistic expression and to ensure that future generations may understand the values, experiences, and talents that our beloved “Mrs. D” generated for happiness and goodwill throughout the world.