Alumnae News & Highlights
As a market gardener, H. Savery Fitz-Gerald Rorimer ’63 can tell you about the importance of good soil in producing healthy plants. As an accomplished teacher of modern dance, wife, and mother, and now a student of biological and organic systems that work, she also knows that the roots of her own life were planted and nourished in the empowering environment of Hathaway Brown. “My teachers enabled me to make my own decisions and to act on them,” she says.
Rorimer entered Hathaway Brown in the fourth grade when her family moved from Wilmington, Del., to Mayfield Village. A spark was ignited for her in 1962 when she performed a modern dance at the HB Variety Show with Barbara Jewitt, daughter of HB dance teacher Patty Jewitt.
Knowing she wanted to be a dancer and artist, Rorimer entered Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. She completed her two-year dance program at Stephens and took an opportunity to travel to Italy, Greece, and the Middle East to be immersed in great art through a 10-week summer art history program sponsored by Smith College. With new knowledge in hand, she entered the Cleveland Institute of Art, earning a degree in weaving and ceramics.
In 1971 and 1972, she returned to HB to assist Patty Jewitt in teaching a dance class at her alma mater. “I couldn’t wait to get to HB and collaborate with the teachers and the students,” Rorimer says. “At one point I realized that I had come back to where I had started.”
A new master’s degree program was just beginning at Case Western Reserve University and Rorimer was accepted to study modern dance and choreography. In 1975 she graduated and spent the next five years teaching K-12 creative movement and modern dance for girls at Laurel School. It was then that she entered into what she calls her “second career” as a wife and mother.
In 1978 she married Louis Rorimer. Two years later, they welcomed their daughter, Sarah, followed by son, James. Although Rorimer was busy raising children and caring for her elderly parents, she never stopped loving the arts. There were early signs in their life together that Savery and Louis would one day be part of a whole foods movement. Louis’ family owned a farm in Bainbridge Township, Ohio. They also had a small group of friends that included Pam Grosscup, who was trained as a chef in France and would create nouvelle cuisine for all to enjoy. The group also went on bird walks and cross-country skied at The Holden Arboretum.
Rorimer’s transition into her “third career” as a market gardener would come later as her mother-in-law aged and she spent more and more time with her at the farm. One of her first farm initiatives was to grow flax and soybeans in order to create paper and ink. The venture flopped financially but ended with a harvest of soybeans taken to sell at the North Union Famers Market, which had just opened.
In 1995, after Louis had retired from his law practice, the couple began dedicating their full-time efforts to Snake Hill Farm, which consists of 150 acres of pastures, fields, and woodlands. The farm yields much for selling at area farmers markets: organic fruits and vegetables, eggs, certified organic beef, honey, and maple syrup. And Rorimer works to provide healthy organic produce and ensure the availability of food grown locally and free from potentially harmful chemicals. “Our farm is a wonderful, magical place,” she says. “I have become more aware of symbiotic relationships between human beings and all the creatures that work with us.”
- Distinguished Alumnae Award