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June 26, 1937 – Feb. 25, 2024

Jack Roche, Jr. 86, son of the late Jack (Giacomo) and Helen Roche, passed away on Sunday, February 25, 2024, at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, CA. He was surrounded by his wife and family. Jack was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Andrew and Joseph, his sisters Margaret and Ima-Jean and his first wife Karen.

Jack was born on June 26, 1937, in Holtville, CA. His parents had immigrated from Italy to Holtville and eventually settled in Escalon, CA. Jack lost his father at the age of 12, therefore he spent his teen years working on their family almond, walnut, peach, clover, and sheep ranch in Escalon, along with his two sisters and three brothers. Jack’s mother Helen purchased their first tractor and began hulling almonds on their ranch and through her strength and tenacity she was able to create a strong working ranch that still exists to this day.

Jack attended Escalon High School. He met and married his first wife Karen Munden in November of 1965; they were married for 35 years until her passing of brain cancer in May of 2000. Jack and Karen had two children: their son Michael Anthony, born in 1967 and their daughter Jacqueline Christa, born in 1970. After they married Jack continued to work at the family’s almond huller in Escalon and eventually Jack, Karen and their children settled in Oakdale, where Jack continued to live for 47 years until the time of his passing.

Jack and his brothers Joe and Tony were able to continue the legacy of their mom’s harvesting and shelling ranch and eventually created Roche Brothers Incorporated, now known as RBI. Later in life Jack and his brothers were able to pass the family business onto their children and they continue to keep the legacy and family farming tradition alive. Jack took great pride in his work and truly loved farming, he continued to visit the almond plant and several almond orchards until he could no longer drive. His son Mike often chauffeured him around to look at the almond orchards and to RBI to make sure that it was still going strong. Many times, his daughter Jackie took him to lunch and somehow, he would turn it into a longer afternoon because he would get her to drive him around to look at the almond trees, and of course a quick drive by the “RBI Ranch” to see what everyone was up to. He truly was a Farmer at heart.

In November of 2006 Jack married Gloria E. Powell and they enjoyed over 18 years of marriage. Jack and Gloria loved taking little road trips, especially drives to Lake Tahoe. They loved working in their yard together. They spent many hours planting flowers, taking care of their vegetable garden, tending to their fruit trees and rose garden. Hand in hand they created a beautiful gathering area outside where they could sit and relax and spend time as a couple. Family would also gather with them outside in this area, as they spent many hours visiting, enjoying laughter and the fruits of their labor. Jack was happiest outside and this sanctuary brought him joy as he was with his wife, his “fur-baby” Roxie Rose, his beautiful yard, and a big bonus for him was that all of this is surrounded by his almond trees. Jack also enjoyed time with his grandchildren. He loved being their Papa and enjoyed attending their school activities, games and FFA functions. He also loved attending all the family gatherings that he could. Jack was a jokester and loved to laugh.

Jack is survived by his wife Gloria; his son Mike of Oakdale, his daughter Jackie (Eric) of Escalon, his stepdaughter Michele Keady of Idaho, his brother Tony of Escalon, his sister-in-law Cheryl of Escalon. Jack leaves behind seven grandchildren: Staci, Ashley, Logan, Lindsey (Michael), Mackenzie M., Jenessa (Juan), Ryan, Mackenzie K., and Savannah (Brandon). He also leaves behind 16 great-grandchildren, many cousins, nieces and nephews and his best friend/fur-baby dog Roxie Rose.

A visitation and Rosary will be at Deegan Funeral Chapel in Escalon, 1441 San Joaquin Street on Wednesday, March 6 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The viewing is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the Rosary prayer service will be from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. A funeral Mass will be on Thursday, March 7 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 19399 E. State Highway 120, Ripon CA 95366. Burial will immediately follow at Burwood Cemetery, 28320 E. River Road, Escalon CA 95320. Celebration of Life will follow the burial at the Sportsman Club, 25195 E. River Road, Escalon CA 95320.

Donations in honor of Jack may be made to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, American Cancer Society and Escalon High School FFA.

The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader

The Riverbank (Calif.) News

March 6, 2024