PERU — Lt. Col. John F. Roach, 82, of State Route 22B, Peru, died Saturday, August 24, 2013, at CVPH Medical Center with his loving family by his side.
John Francis Roach was born in Plattsburgh on Jan. 30, 1931, the eldest child and only son of Francis Daniel and Agnes Cecelia Quinn Roach. He was soon followed by four little sisters, Anne, Marilyn, Margaret and Eleanor. A man of great Catholic faith, pride in his Irish heritage and love for his country, John was a graduate of St. John's Academy Class of 1948, where he was the youngest in his class due to the fact that when he started school in Keeseville, there was no kindergarten section, so he went directly to first grade.
A child of the depression, John was no stranger to hard work. Growing up, he worked the milk trucks before school, at Nitzi's during college and drove truck for Texaco during summers and holidays through the 1970s.
John's long and distinguished military career began when he left Plattsburgh on St. Patrick's Day 1948 for basic training in San Antonio, Texas, and ended 43 years later when, as a Lt. Col., he aged out during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. He was a Korean War veteran and remained active in the USAF Reserves during the 1960s, even when there was no financial compensation for doing so. He served as the area Liaison to the United States Air Force Academy for three decades.
Upon returning to Plattsburgh, John enrolled at Champlain College in Vermont and transferred to Plattsburgh State Teachers College, where he was the first King of the Winter Ball, and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in 1956. He achieved Master's Degrees from Plattsburgh State and Syracuse University. John did his student teaching in Peru under the tutelage of Loretta Bull. He spent one year teaching in Colonie and the next 54 years at Peru Central. Mr. Roach inspired generations of students, their children and grandchildren. If you had his class in room 214, you were a "214'er" for life! He retired from teaching in June 1991 and began driving bus as a substitute in September. He greeted every child with a smile, a story and often a song. "When The Saints Go Marching In" holds a special place in the hearts and memories of many children he drove to school.