MANDATA — Friends, family, students and colleagues remembered longtime Line Mountain music educator Diane Rompallo as a kind and passionate individual with a love for music and laughter.
Rompallo, 59, whose first day with the district was Nov. 30, 1993, passed away suddenly due to heart complications on Thursday at Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital, Coal Township. She was a music teacher, chorus teacher and band director for the Line Mountain School District who took several of her classes to Penn State University over the last few years to sing the national anthem to open sporting events.
“The song has ended but the music and melody linger on,” said Rompallo’s older sister Sherry Moroz. “She was always there for everybody.”
Rompallo, the second oldest of five sisters, wanted everybody to participate and feel they were important in any group setting. She was proud when kids she taught got into more advanced things in high school. She was the one who gave them the love to sing and try out for plays, said Moroz.
“She brought the music and laughter into the family, and it’s really hard without her,” said Rompallo’s younger sister Kathy Schauer. “She loved her students. When you’re a teacher, you don’t just have your own children, you have thousands of children, and she treated them like they were hers.”
A lover of The Beatles, Rompallo was a daredevil when she was younger and more conservative when she was older. She had a sense of humor and spoke in accents to make people laugh, and she had a knack for remembering the little things, said Schauer.
Rompallo is survived by her mother, Olga; daughters Joey and Kasey Rompallo, of Kulpmont; sisters, Moroz, Schauer and Michelle Scott, of Bel Air Maryland; her fiance, Bret Getty, and his children, Cameron and Taylor Getty of Marion Heights; nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and dear friends, including her childhood best friend, Mickey Herr, according to her obituary.
“She’d always come in with a smile and laugh. You know when you talked to Diane, there was going to be a laugh,” said Line Mountain Elementary School Principal Jeanne Menko, who graduated high school with Rompallo at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional High School in 1978. “She was very dedicated to her kids. I’m going to miss going and watching her teach. There was such energy and love there.”
Menko said counselors were available for the students on Thursday and county mental health workers will be available for staff this week. The teachers contacted parents and letters were sent home with students. Students were provided memory books and some of them chose to make cards for the family.
“They loved her,” Moroz said about the cards. “They said music was fun, she made them love music, she always smiled and sang, and they would miss her. One of them said ‘please come back.’ It was just phenomenal.”
Caitlin Keim, a 2019 graduate of Line Mountain, said Rompallo touched a lot of people.
“For me, personally, she was an inspiration,” said Keim. “She was always so kind to everyone, it didn’t matter who you were. I always looked forward to having her in class because she always made my day better. Just her personality alone was inspirational.”
Autumn Rose Bohner, a 2017 graduate of Line Mountain, said Rompallo was “always so passionate” about music.
“I’ve always been passionate about music, but she really helped to solidify it,” said Bohner. “She gave me the foundation I needed to stick with it so I could later join jazz band and marching band. You need that solid foundation, and I really got that from her. She always made band so fun and made me want to be a better musician. Without her, I wouldn’t have gotten involved with the band and I wouldn’t have learned the saxophone or how to read music.”
A viewing will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday with a Christian wake service at 8 p.m. and from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. Wednesday at the C. J. Lucas Funeral Home Inc., 1053 Chestnut St., Kulpmont. A funeral mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Church of the Holy Angels, 855 Scott St., Kulpmont, with the Rev. Andrew Stahmer as celebrant. A memorial scholarship fund for student musicians or singers has been set up in memory of Diane R. Rompallo. All donations can be sent to Union National Bank, 1 N. Oak St., P.O. Box 367, Mount Carmel 17851-0367.