Jones W. Roach was born in Richmond, Virginia to Mary and Bill Roach on July 31, 1933 and passed August 3, 2014. |
He is preceded in death by his son, Joe Roach, and his grandsons Jessen and Thomas Roach. His is survived by, Sherry, his wife of fifty-seven years whom he often referred to as his bride; daughter, Martha Moore, son-in-law, Gary Moore; daughter-in-law, Becky Roach; sister, Jackie Hoffman; brother-in-law, Marshall Hoffman and grandchildren: Ross, Sherry, and Will Roach, Sarah Moore, and Carolyn Moore.
Joe was one of two men to receive a full four year scholarship awarded by the Governor of Virginia to attend Virginia Military Institute. He graduated in 1955 with a degree in electrical engineering. After graduation, Joe was a sales engineer for Linde air products, a division of Union Carbide Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Joe entered the Air Force and received Navigator Wings and the rank of First Lieutenant. He was sent to Biloxi, Mississippi. This is where Joe met Sherry and they were together from that time on. Married in a military wedding, they were soon sent to Alaska.
A Registered Professional Engineer of the State of Texas, Joe accomplished much more than many men of the same discipline. His career and his avocations speak to a man of quiet confidence and philanthropy that belied his capacity to achieve and to give back. He spent time in the Alaskan Air Command and worked with the Electronics and Intelligence Center. In 1961, he was called to the Berlin Crisis as a Captain Flying Officer.
At the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Johnson Space Center, Joe was a major contributor to the success of many manned space voyages, helping to design Mission Control and helping to put a man on the moon. From serving as a Flight Control Operator, he progressed through roles as Assistant Branch Chief, Branch Chief, Assistant Chief-Flight Control Division, Deputy Chief, Flight Control Division for Mission Operations, to Technical Assistant to the Director of Flight Operations-Apollo Missions.
Additionally, as a member of the Viking Project, Joe served as Consultant, Member of the Review Panel, and Manager of Technical Operations. He concluded his NASA career as Assistant to the manager of the Program Operations Office.
Joe Roach, Sr. received many honors and awards as a result of his work at NASA. Among them: Three Manned Spacecraft Center Certificates of Commendation, and the Exceptional Service Medal. Mission Control, which Joe was a part of, was awarded the presidential Medal of Freedom for helping save the lives of Apollo 13 astronauts. He also received the Ronald McNair Memorial Award from Community Partners.
His professional memberships included the Association Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics (AAIA), National Society of Professional Engineers, and Texas Society of Professional Engineers.
In his church and in his community, Joe was always reaching out to help others. He was a long-standing member of the Boy Scouts of America, Community Father of the Year and Grandfather of the Year from Group 14 Community Partners, Houston.
Joe was very active in his church. When living in Clear Lake, Joe and his wife attended Clear Lake United Methodist Church. Among his many contributions there, he served as chairperson of the staff Parish Relations Committee and on the Finance Committee and Board of Directors at Lakewood Methodist Conference Center.
In Houston, Joe was active in his church, First Presbyterian Church, Houston. He was an Elder, a founding leader of the Shepherd Center Ministry, a Stephen Minister, Board member and supporter of the Emergency Aid Coalition, and Volunteer of the year.
Friends are invited to a memorial service on Saturday, September 6, 2014 at ten o'clock in the morning at First Presbyterian Church, Houston, 5300 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77004 with a reception to follow.
In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial gifts may be directed to Little People of America, Inc., 250 El Camino real, Suite 211, Tustin, California 92780 (www.lpaonline.org), Emergency Aid Coalition, 5401 Fannin, Houston, Texas 77004, or the
Published in Houston Chronicle on Aug. 31, 2014