Death of a Classmate - William Roach '54

 Lt. Col. William Joseph Roach, USAF Ret., a resident of Daleville, passed away quietly at home on November 16, 2012, at age 83, in the company of his family. Along with his twin sister Joan, Joe was born in Pueblo, Colorado on August 19, 1929.
Joe was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., in 1954. He graduated from pilot training in 1957 and was assigned to the Strategic Air Command ,where he flew KC-135 re-fueling tankers. He received his Master's Degree in Nuclear Engineering from the United States Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio in 1967. Joe served for three years in the Minute Man Missile Development Program at Norton AFB in San Bernardino, Calif.
Lieutenant Colonel Roach was a Senior Master Pilot and served in the
Vietnam War flying C-130 cargo planes and receiving wartime distinction for his participation in the evacuation of the A Shau Valley. Additional military commendation included two Distinguished Flying Crosses for heroism while participating in an aerial flight, and The Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars. He retired from the Air Force in May, 1974.
After retirement he spent a number of years in the construction industry in San Bernardino, Calif., moving to Daleville in 2003. He was a member of The Kiwanis, and particularly enjoyed the fellowship of the Knights of Columbus. Joe was a sportsman, playing football, wrestling and boxing at the USNA. He was affectionately known as the "Iron Duke." Most recently he enjoyed golf and was an avid fisherman in the company of his sons and son in law.
Joe is preceded in death by his parents Frank and Rosella Roach; and brothers, Thomas and John.
Joe is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Lucy Ann; sister, Joan Terry, Solvang, Calif.; daughter Julie Fraze (Dearl), of Daleville; and sons Joseph (Kathleen), Thomas (Bernardine), John (Mary), Patrick (Tracey) of California , David, of Leesburg; 17 grandchildren and 2 great-grandsons. He is also survived by a sister in law, Toni Ann Roach; nieces, nephews and cousins. He will be greatly missed by us all.
Heartfelt thanks to the community of Church of the Transfiguration in Fincastle, Good Samaritan Hospice, and the caregivers from Home Instead for their dedicated and compassionate care.
The Family will welcome friends at Rader Funeral Home, 630 Roanoke Road, Daleville, on Monday, November 19, 2012 from 6 to 8 p.m., where a Wake Service will be held at 7:30 p.m. The Funeral mass will be held at Church of the Transfiguration, 7624 Roanoke Road, Fincastle, on Tuesday, November 20, 2012, at 10 a.m. Following the burial at Godwin Cemetery, with full military honors provided by The United States Air Force Honor Guard, will be a reception at the Church of the Transfiguration.
Memorial contributions in Joe's honor may be made to Church of the Transfiguration, 7624 Roanoke Road, Fincastle, Virginia 24090.
On-line condolences may be made to the family at

Published in Roanoke Times on November 18, 2012

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