Roger James Lerch Saratoga Springs, NY - Roger James Lerch, 59, passed away unexpectedly in his home Sunday, July 13, 2014. Born on May 6, 1955 to Roger James Lerch Sr. and Maxine Finnell of Painesville, Ohio, Jim attended Lucas High school near Mansfield, Ohio, where he set a long standing record in track and field for a mile event. Though accepted at the United States Air force Academy Jim chose to serve his country by enlisting in the United States Navy at the age of 19. Jim travelled abroad as a Submariner/Diver aboard the USS SCAMP (SSN 588). It was through this service that Jim found love with Lourdes Maria Azera while stationed in San Francisco, California. Only two months after meeting, the two knew they were meant to be, and wed. Within the next two years their family was cemented with two sons. Jim spent the first nine years of their marriage balancing sea duties as a naval enlisted seaman serving aboard the only United States Nuclear Research Submarine (NR-1) and his family, who moved from station to station with him. Through the course of his career Jim rose through the rates of the enlisted to the rate of Senior Chief Petty Officer before transitioning as a Mustang into the Limited Duty Officer Program being commissioned as an Ensign and achieving the rank of Commander before retirement. He was selected to serve in the Naval Reactors Program under Admiral Hyman Rickover. Jim retired in Jan. 2009 after 35 years in the service. Jim took great pride in academic studies achieving two Masters degrees and pursing a Doctorate in Human Resources. Aside from gaining knowledge he enjoyed the opportunity to share wisdom and found happiness in seeing others succeed. Between his home in Greenfield Center, NY, a recent purchase of a lot in Zephyr Hills, Florida, and chasing his grandchildren in multiple states, his recent years were very busy and very bright. To those who knew him he was an outgoing fellow who was never too busy to take time for another. He lived his life as an example for others to follow as a Man, a Husband, Grandfather, and a Father. Jim’s effect on this world will live on in all who knew him. Survivors include his wife, Lourdes; two sons Jeffrey C. Lerch (Shannon) and Jeremy Lerch (Susan); grandchildren Allison, Cadence, and Jaxon; his mother Maxine Shopell; one sister Linda (Jim) Sgamballone and nieces and nephews. Jim was predeceased by his father Roger, Sr. In lieu of flowers memorable contributions should made to the National Military Family Association www.militaryfamilies.org. Graveside services with military honors will be at 12noon Thursday, July 17, 2014 at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery, Duell Rd., Schuylerville. A gathering to celebrate Jim’s life will follow at the Gurtler Brothers VFW Post 420, 190 Excelsior Ave., Saratoga Springs at 2pm. Arrangements are under the direction of the William J. Burke & Sons/Bussing & Cunniff Funeral Homes of 628 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs 584-5373. Online remembrances may be made at www.burkefuneralhome.com.
William J. Burke & Sons - Saratoga Springs
628 North Broadway Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Published in The Saratogian on July 16, 2014