Thomas Edwin Roper, Jr., the youngest of two children, was born February 12, 1956, to loving parents Thomas Sr. and Beverly (Curry) Roper, and passed away suddenly on November 2, 2021, at the age of 65. His parents proceeded him in death.
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, “Tommy” accepted Jesus Christ as his savior at an early age and was baptized at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church. He attended A. J. Rickoff Elementary, Alexander Hamilton Jr. High, and Lutheran East Sr. High before attending and graduating from Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. It was in both high school and college that Thomas became a standout athlete playing football. Prior to his college graduation, he received scouting letters from the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks.
Following college, Thomas took a position as a probation officer with the Cuyahoga County Probation Department. That position was pivotal in beginning his 28-year career as a police officer and detective for the City of Cleveland. In 1986, he began his career in the 4th district on basic patrol and three years later, transferred to the Narcotics Unit where he served for 11 years. From 2000 to 2005, he was assigned to the Intelligence Unit before being transferred in 2005 to Office of the Mayor for the City of Cleveland as a bodyguard. On February 5, 2014, after tirelessly serving and protecting the people of Cleveland, Detective Roper retired. His retirement was not long lived however, as he accepted the position of corporal with the Cuyahoga Community College Police Department and later was an officer with the Highland Hills Police Department. He subsequently retired once again on April 11, 2021.
Thomas enjoyed a variety of sports as they were always a significant part of his life. He was legendarily known for his crushing homeruns as a baseball player for the Cleveland B-Buzz Baseball League and his explosive touchdowns as a football player at both Lutheran East Sr. High and Kent State University. He continued to play football after college for Gibbs, a United States Flag and Touch Football League (USFTL) and was a USFTL Hall of Fame inductee after helping his team win championship titles in 1986 (22-0) and 1988 (26-7). In his later years, he took up golf as a hobby. He was a member of the National Negro Golf Association (NNGA) and in his spare time, coached children enrolled in the First Tee golf program. Thomas enjoyed the game and became an avid player, spending hours reading golf-related books, viewing videos, and creating study guides so that he could perfect his craft. He also possessed an extensive collection of golfing equipment and apparel because when it came to golf, he was all in! In addition to golfing, Thomas enjoyed traveling, supporting youth sports, watching his children play sports, and spending time with his family and friends.
Thomas knew no strangers as everyone he encountered, even while off duty, became a friend. He believed in serving others while both in and out of his uniform. He was always willing to lend a helping hand and would give anyone the shirt right off his back if they needed one.
Thomas leaves to cherish his memory, five (5) children: Donte Alexander Doss, Symone Ariane Roper, Cheree Katherine (Jerome, Sr.) Price, Torrey Ellys Roper, and Tareeq Evan Roper; four (4) grandchildren: Sydnee, Donte (Alex) II, Harlowe, and Jerome, Jr.; sister Beverly Roper (William, Sr.) Carswell, aunt Sondra (Berry) Wilson, bonus mom Bennie J. Williams-Roper, dearest cousin Alicia “Bugger” Turner; cherished friend and brother Kenny Lofton, former police partner Will Young, football teammates Darrell Pugh and Darryl Hoyett, dedicated neighbor Alvin Gulley, many relatives, special friends, golfing buddies, and his “brothers and sisters in blue.”