A St Albans district councillor has paid tribute to his wife’s "extraordinary generosity of spirit" after her sudden death at the start of this year.
Anthony Rowlands, current leader of the Liberal Democrat party, has described his great appreciation as tributes pour in for Harriet Rowlands, who died at her St Albans home on Tuesday, January 7.
The mother-of-two taught English and drama at Beaumont School for 12 years until her retirement in 2013, as well as being a longstanding member of the Company of Ten drama group.
Councillor Rowlands said: "Harriet was imbued with an extraordinary and instinctive generosity of spirit. Pupils and friends alike have testified in enormous numbers to her intelligence, wit, sensitivity, compassion and thoughtfulness. She offered friendship and strength to colleagues at Beaumont and countless people throughout St Albans, and especially those who had lost loved ones.
"When she retired from teaching last Summer, students past and present organised a surprise party at a very noisy local bar. That was but one of many examples of how much ‘Mrs Rolo’ was respected and adored.
"On behalf of our children, Alice and Sam, I would like to thank the literally hundreds of people who have sent messages of condolence and related fond memories and, above all, recorded their admiration for Harriet’s remarkable capacity for meaningful friendship."
Also paying tribute was Paul Davidson, chairman of the Company of Ten, who described Mrs Rowlands as a "long-standing and very loyal member" of the drama group based in the Abbey Theatre.
He said: "She was a fine actress who appeared in many productions at the Abbey Theatre but also regularly took her turn with front-of-house duties. She will be very greatly missed."
Liz Hitch, Beaumont School headteacher added: "Harriet will be sorely missed by students and staff. She communicated her passion for English and drama to all around her.
"Her enthusiasm was boundless and her capacity to comfort and support students in need of help was remarkable. Colleagues adored her for her compassion, sense of solidarity, and for the practical support she offered to so many."
She leaves her grown-up children Alice and Sam and two brothers, David and Stephen Isaacs.
Mrs Rowlands was the daughter of the late Professor Alick Isaacs, eminent virologist who discovered Interferon, and the late Dr Susanna Isaacs-Elmhirst, consultant in child psychiatry and psychoanalyst.
After attending North London Collegiate School, she studied English and Music at York University and dance at the Laban Studio before qualifying as a secondary school teacher at the Institute of Education, London.
As well as teaching at Beaumont School, in Oakwood Drive, Mrs Rowlands was head of drama at Loreto College in St Albans and Kings Langley School.
Since her retirement, she had worked as a volunteer steward at the Globe Theatre and had also begun to help at a local primary school.
Mrs Rowlands funeral service took place at West Herts Crematorium in Watford on Thursday, January 16.
A celebration of Mrs Rowland’s life will also be held in the Spring. Donations can also be made to Youth Talk at http://www.youthtalk.org.uk.