State of Illinois
92nd General Assembly

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 1                          HOUSE RESOLUTION

 2        WHEREAS,  The  members   of   the   Illinois   House   of
 3    Representatives  wish to express their sincere condolences to
 4    the family and  friends  of  Mari-Rae  Sopper,  a  native  of
 5    Inverness, Illinois, who passed away on September 11, 2001 on
 6    American Airlines Flight 77; and

 7        WHEREAS,  Mari-Rae  Sopper  was  born on June 19, 1966 to
 8    Bill Sopper and Marian Kminek; and

 9        WHEREAS, Mari-Rae Sopper was a graduate of William  Fremd
10    High  School  in  Palatine, where she competed in gymnastics;
11    during her high school career she was named  an  All-American
12    on  all  four  events,  a  state champion gymnast, Fremd High
13    School's Athlete of the Year and Illinois' Outstanding Senior
14    Gymnast of the Year; in addition, she excelled  in  academics
15    earning  recognition  as  an  Illinois  State  Scholar  and a
16    National Merit Scholar; and

17        WHEREAS, Ms. Sopper went on to Iowa State University  and
18    graduated with a degree in Exercise Science; she competed for
19    four  years  on the Iowa State Women's Gymnastics team, where
20    she was voted Iowa  State's  Most  Valuable  Gymnast  in  her
21    senior year; and

22        WHEREAS,  After  graduating  from  Iowa State, Ms. Sopper
23    earned her master's degree in  Athletic  Administration  from
24    North  Texas  University;  at  the same time, she served as a
25    Junior Olympic Gymnastics coach  in  Dallas,  where  she  was
26    well-known  in  the  nation's  gymnastics community and had a
27    reputation for her beautifully choreographed dance  routines;
28    and

29        WHEREAS,  Ms.  Sopper  was  a strong advocate for women's
30    rights and civil rights, beliefs that led her  to  enroll  at
31    the  University  of  Denver  College  of Law, where she was a
                            -2-                LRB9210985RHrh
 1    member of  the  Law  Review  and  graduated  in  1996;  while
 2    completing  her  law degree, she served as an assistant coach
 3    at the Colorado Gymnastics Institute; and

 4        WHEREAS, Ms. Sopper practiced law in Washington, D.C.  as
 5    a  Lieutenant on the Navy's JAG Corps focusing on Defense and
 6    Appellate Defense; she was also a member of the Supreme Court
 7    Bar;  while  in  Washington,  she  kept  her  enthusiasm  for
 8    gymnastics  alive  by  serving  as  an  assistant  coach  and
 9    choreographer for the U.S. Naval Academy  women's  gymnastics
10    team;   most   recently,  she  was  an  assistant  coach  and
11    choreographer at George Washington University; and

12        WHEREAS, Ms. Sopper left the  JAG  Corps  and  became  an
13    associate at the law firm of Schmeltzer, Aptaker and Shepard;
14    after  serving  for  a  year, she realized that her desire to
15    coach gymnastics was overwhelming and therefore accepted  the
16    head  coach position at the University of California at Santa
17    Barbara for the women's gymnastics team; and

18        WHEREAS, The passing of Mari-Rae Sopper  will  be  deeply
19    felt  by  all who knew and loved her, especially her parents,
20    Bill Sopper and Marion (husband, Frank) Kminek; her  sisters,
21    Tammy   Sopper,  Christina  Kminek,  and  Stacy  Sopper;  her
22    brothers, Christopher Kminek and Frank (wife,  Beth)  Kminek;
23    her  grandparents, Lilian Dahlstrom and Janie Bonara; and her
24    many friends and colleagues whose lives she touched  in  more
25    ways than one; therefore, be it

28    we mourn, along with all who knew her, the death of  Mari-Rae
29    Sopper, formerly of Inverness, Illinois; and be it further

30        RESOLVED,  That  a  suitable  copy  of this resolution be
31    presented to the family of Mari-Rae Sopper with  our  sincere
32    condolences.

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