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James Michael Roach
July 24, 1934 ~ July 2, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old
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James “Jimmy” Roach, 88, died peacefully surrounded by family on July 2, 2023. He was born in Hartford, CT on July 24, 1934 to Clarence and Dorothy (O’Neal) Roach.
Jimmy was a standout athlete at Manchester High School (‘53) in football, basketball and baseball. Although he was heavily scouted for both football & baseball, he ultimately followed his love for football and played at NY Military Academy & Auburn until injuries ended his playing career. Turned down signing with the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, and Bristol Red Sox his Junior year in high school to pursue football, and is considered by many to be Manchester’s greatest athlete ever. He was inducted into the Manchester Sports Hall of Fame in 1986. He remained active for his entire life & enjoyed several years playing in the Cape Cod Sr Softball League.
He married his high school sweetheart, Jeannette (Botteron) Roach in 1954 and began his career as a member of Iron Workers Local 15 in 1955. He earned a reputation through both athletics and professionally as an extremely hard worker who was tough but fair. After retiring from Iron working, Jimmy spent several years as a custodian in the Manchester School system , a job he quite enjoyed.
He was predeceased by his son, James M Roach, Jr. He is survived by his wife & sons, Mark, John & Thomas, & his daughter Kathy & her husband Chris Jordan. He also helped raise his granddaughter Amy & has been an involved and loving great grandfather to her children Tiana & Julian. He leaves his grandchildren, Rachel, Heather, Cody, Kyle, Michael, Erin, Delaney, Mackenna and Sean, and great grandchildren Allie and Bradley.
He was a big guy with a tuft of snowy white hair and baby blue eyes that were a window to his gentle soul. He loved his years coaching youth football and sharing his love of the game with kids. He loved his career & helping people. He loved his family, but most of all he loved his wife and their life. He was a really good guy.