FRED ROACH Oct. 5, 1946 – Sept. 2, 2014
Fred Roach, age 67, completed his final journey among us on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 in Los Alamos. Fred accepted the challenges caused by Glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer with grace and courage.
Fred was born to James Maurice Roach and Mary Glendon King Roach on October 5, 1946 in Chillicothe, Missouri. He was officially named James Fredric Roach, but was always called Fred. Fred was big brother to Steve, Cydne, David and Jacque. His family moved often during his youth, but the time he spent in Bloomington, Minnesota during junior high school and high school helped to shape him into a man of curiosity and integrity.
Fred’s family moved to Albuquerque in 1964, the year that he graduated from high school. Although he had a scholarship to the University of Minnesota, he moved with his family and attended the University of New Mexico. Fred was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha, ROTC, and active in organizing campus activities.
While working on his PhD in resource economics, Fred met Susan Michaels. She fell in love with his beautiful smile, his expressive eyes, his amazing mind, his dedication to career and community and his compassion for others. They were married on May 20, 1972. While on their honeymoon, Fred received his orders to report to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Fred served active duty for two and a half years and received the Air Force Commendation Medal.
During Fred’s tour of duty, he and Susan were blessed with a set of twins, Jennifer Lynn and Jeffrey Lee. Fred was an excellent father and he never met a diaper he would not change. Fred took an “Early Out” from the Air Force to return to UNM to complete his PhD. Fred fell in love with New Mexico and Susan’s family, and accepted a position at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1976.
Fred worked on many projects during his career at LANL. He and his colleagues analyzed and reported their recommendations on a large variety of topics including water use, solar energy, non-renewable energy, military weapons and logistics, keeping track of transport containers for security, and modeling resources needed to respond to hurricanes. Fred accepted two changes of station to the Washington DC area where he loved the history and culture of our nation’s capital. He finished his career at LANL working in Homeland Security, hoping he could help keep the world a safer place.
Fred loved Los Alamos County and worked effortlessly to promote a healthy, vibrant community. Providing safe youth activities was his passion. Fred was a coach and/or board member for Los Alamos youth sports including ice skating, baseball, soccer, hockey and lacrosse. He served many years on Los Alamos County boards including Parks and Recreation and Planning and Zoning. He was instrumental in securing the building for the Los Alamos School of Gymnastics and upgrades to the Los Alamos Hockey Rink including replacing the condemned ice house, improving locker rooms, and installing refrigeration. While on Planning and Zoning, he helped to update the downtown plan and identify the historic district. Fred was an active member of Leadership Los Alamos.
Fred is survived by his wife of 42 years Susan; son Jeff and wife Krystal of Los Alamos; daughter Jenny and husband Andrew Whitehead of Davis, CA; grandchildren Lindsay Roach, Tristen Roach, and Kathlyn Whitehead; sister Jacque and husband Tim Herndon of Florida; brother David of Texas; and loved by many nieces and nephews.
We will celebrate his life at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, September 20, at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2390 North Road, Los Alamos, NM 87544. Memorial donations may be made to Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation, 1900 Diamond Drive, Ste 1 or Los Alamos Historical Society, PO Box 43, 1050 Bathtub Row, Los Alamos, NM 87544.