August 26, 1935 - October 21, 2017
Born Roxy LeRoy Neuhardt in 1935 in Rexburg, Idaho and raised in West Yellowstone, Montana, Roxy began dancing when he was 8-years old. As a young man, Roxy owned 3 dance studios in Salt Lake City, Utah before moving to Las Vegas, Nevada where he was a featured dancer in Minsky’s Follies at the Dunes Hotel, Lido De’ Paris at the Stardust and the Jet Set Review at the Aladdin. In the early 1960s, he left Las Vegas to become Assistant Choreographer and featured performer for the Morro-Landis Production Co., before being recruited as choreographer and dancer for Gracie Hansen at the Hoyt Hotel in Portland.
Once in Portland, Roxy met and fell in love with Walter Cole AKA Darcelle XV. Roxy is credited with creating the Darcelle XV persona and spent more than 45 years as choreographer, show director and featured performer at the Darcelle XV Showplace. He was also the bookkeeper, office manager and payroll accountant.
Literally inseparable, Roxy and Darcelle spent nearly five decades building their business, raising funds for countless charities, caring for friends living with and dying from HIV/AIDS, making special appearances, feeding the hungry & homeless, fighting for LGBTQ rights and providing a safe gathering place for the community. The work they have done to advance the LGBTQ profile in Portland cannot be overstated.
World travelers, Roxy and Darcelle were in Berlin the day the wall came down, have walked the Great Wall of China, sailed the Yangtze River, rode Elephants in India, climbed the pyramids of Egypt, toured all over Europe, witnessed calving of the glaciers in Alaska, and added to the debauchery of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Some 40 years ago, while partying in the streets of Mardi Gras, Roxy, Mame and Terry K. were captured by a local photographer who used their image in a postcard that is still a number one seller in New Orleans to this day.
Recently, Roxy and Darcelle visited Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse by bus, cruised the Bahamas and the Caribbean and in August, they visited Roxy’s sister Charlene and brother in-law Bob in Pocatello, Idaho. Of all the places they’ve visited two of their favorite locations in the world were New York City, where they enjoy Broadway shows and cabarets, and Sitges, Spain where they were always welcomed as family at the Hotel Romantic. Last September, they were able to visit New York City and in May, they visited their beloved Sitges.
Roxy appeared in the feature length documentary Queens of Heart… Community Therapists in Drag as well as the Emmy Award Winning documentary OPB’s Oregon Experience… Darcelle XV.
Celebrated as a humanitarian and pioneer in the LGBTQ community, Roxy was the recipient of many awards over the years and is the only Crown Prince of the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court. Most recently, Roxy was featured in a mural of LGBTQ Pioneers in Portland sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank and unveiled on October 3, 2017 at the new Prism Healthcare Clinic. On Wednesday, October 18th of this year, Roxy received the Ray Snively Award, given by the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court for more than 10 years of continuous service to the community.
Perhaps more significant than their success in business and community service, Roxy and Darcelle’s life is a story of unconditional love. Love for each other and love for their family and friends. Roxy will be missed by everyone he knew. They will miss the way he cheerfully proclaimed “Welcome Aboard” when someone walked into the club. Or the way he called out your name in a sing-song fashion… “MARIAAAAAAA”. Patrons will miss the way he closed the show “Thanks for joining us on this Horny Friday night… And, I’m seeing lots of Horny in this audience tonight”.
Roxy is survived by his lifelong partner Walter W. Cole, sister Charlene Frisk, brother in-law Bob Frisk, Nieces Shawna Irvin, Lisa Frisk & Nichole Irvin Nephews Robert Frisk & Logan Frisk, Cole Matriarch Jean Cole, Daughter in-law Maridee Woodson, Son in-law Walter Cole Jr., Daughter in-law Julie Cole, Son in-law Dennis Woodson, Granddaughters Sara Diamond & Amanda Graebe, Grandson Mikeal Diamond, Grandson to be Logan and great granddaughter Lainey Rose Diamond.