Joe Roche, 70, son of the late Jack (Giacomo) and Helen Roche, passed away with his family by his side after a yearlong battle with Multiple Myeloma on Friday, January 22, 2016. Joe was a lifelong resident of and born in Escalon, California.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Andrew and his sister Margaret. Joe lost his father at the age of 4 and was raised by his mother in Escalon on their family almond, walnut and peach ranch along with his two sisters and three brothers. Joe’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. Joe graduated from Escalon High School in 1963. He met and married his life-long love and very best friend Cheryl Dodd of Oakdale, CA in 1966. Soon after he was married Joe was drafted and served in the United States Army, Air Cav Division and was discharged with honors in 1969. He served and was severely injured in the Vietnam War. Decorations, medals and badges awarded were: National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam’s Service Medal, Combat Infantry Badge and Purple Heart. Joe eventually returned home where he and Cheryl lived and worked on the family ranch and raised their daughter and son in the farmhouse that they still have to this day.
Joe and his brothers were able to continue the legacy of their mom’s harvesting shelling ranch and eventually created Roche Brothers Incorporated. Joe was the president and his wife Cheryl managed the books. Later in life Joe 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. Joe was especially proud to watch his son and the next generation build, flourish and grow the business into something that he never imagined it could be.
Later in life Joe and Cheryl were able to travel to many amazing places they had always dreamed to go, including his parent’s homeland of Italy. Joe was very involved in the Modesto Veteran’s Center and he enjoyed bowling on their team. Joe enjoyed golfing and going on many adventures with Cheryl. They spent a lot of time at their cabin in Twain Harte where they had established and added a whole new set of wonderful friends to their already busy and full lives. Joe’s greatest moments were often spent with his wife, kids and grandkids. He loved holidays, family traditions and making sure everyone knew just how important his family was to him. Joe was a planner, he was detailed, he was honest, loyal and above all he treated people right and always tried to the right thing. In the end Joe ended up battling two wars; Vietnam and Cancer. He fought both with courage and dignity and made his entire family so proud.
Joe took great pride and honor in his relationships with his RBI employees. He leaves behind several generations of families who have worked at RBI and who he considered and who clearly are an integral part of his own family.
Joe is survived by his wife and best friend of 49 years; Cheryl, his daughter Jill Roche-Dutra (Joe), his son Joey (Sonya) all of Escalon, two brothers; Jack (Gloria) Roche of Oakdale and Tony Roche of Escalon and one sister; Ima-Jean Powell of Modesto. Joe leaves five grandchildren: Ashley, Joseph, Lucciano, Juliya and Christian. He also leaves behind many lifelong loyal friends, fellow Veterans and family that he held so dear to his heart.
A visitation will be held at Deegan Funeral Chapel in Escalon, 1441 San Joaquin Street on Sunday, January 31 anytime between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.; along with a short prayer vigil at 4 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held on Monday, February 1 at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 19399 E. State Highway 120 Ripon, CA 95366. Burial will immediately follow at St. John’s Catholic Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made in his name to “Modesto Veterans Center” 1219 N. Carpenter Road; Suite 12, Modesto, CA 95351 or to “UCSF Foundation – Multiple Myeloma Program” P.O. Box 45339 San Francisco, CA 94145-0339.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Jan. 27, 2016