MILLBURY - David E. Roach, 73, passed away surrounded by family on Friday, January 27, 2023 at his home in Millbury, Massachusetts.
David leaves his wife and best friend of 47 years, Linda (Silun) Roach, his daughter Anne Roach of Boston, his son John Roach and his wife Liz Roach of Hopkinton, his son Paul Roach of Millbury, his granddaughters Lily and Amelie, and his brother Martin J. Roach III and his wife Joan of Northbridge as well as number of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by Martin J. Roach and Helen (Pendergast) Roach of Millbury.
David and Linda met at the age of 12 and shared a wonderful life together. When their kids were young, they spent their summers driving from historic battlefields up the coast of Maine and back to other historic battlefields listening to Bruce Springsteen and the Red Sox on the radio. As their kids grew older, they continued their travels to Irish villages, Parisian cafes and Low Country BBQ joints. When home, they spent time with their grandchildren. He loved to share his secret stash of popsicles with his beloved granddaughters, while regaling them with enthusiastic, yet remarkably off-key, renditions of Irish folk songs.
David was blessed with many decades-long friendships whether they be Woolies, Friars, Warriors, Sammies or anyone else with a good story. He loved to catch-up, swap stories, give them a hard time, advice or both. A lifetime subscriber to “The New Yorker,” he kept it nearby to fill any dreaded downtime. He possessed a great sense of humor and the most important quality for success in life–the ability to laugh at yourself–most of the time.
David devoted his fifty-year career to public education. He believed in the power of community service to have transformational change both for the individual and the community as a whole. His belief began to take shape in 1971 when after graduation from college he went to Williamsburg County, South Carolina to teach English at Battery Park High School as part of the federally ordered desegregation of the county schools. When he returned home, he worked at Nazareth, a treatment center for adolescents with behavior disorders.
In August of 1973, he accepted a long term substitute position to teach English at Tantasqua Regional High School. In his twenty three years at Tantasqua, he served as an English teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal and from 1990 to 1995, Superintendent of the five town, five thousand student regional school district. In 1995 he returned to Millbury to serve as Superintendent of Schools until 2007. Both districts were recognized by the Cooperation of National Service for their student service programs. He then became Principal of the Nativity School of Worcester.
In 2006 David was appointed by Governor Patrick to serve as Co-Chair of the Commonwealth Corps Commission to develop the Corps, Massachusetts’ Innovative Service Program modeled after Americorps. In 2008 he was appointed by Governor Patrick to the Massachusetts Board of Education. As vice chair, he led the working group on civic education whose recommendations were accepted by the Board in June of 2015 and served as the foundation for the bill to enhance civic education that was signed into law in November 2018. He also served on the Board of Massachusetts Service Alliance which oversees both Americorps and Commcorps programs in Massachusetts and the Board of Directors of the Millbury Federal Credit Union on which he has served for twenty-two years. He was also a parishioner of St. Brigid Church.
Family and friends are invited to remember David’s life by gathering for a time of visitation on Tuesday, Jan. 31st from 4 to 7 p.m. at Mulhane Home for Funerals, 45 N. Main Street in Millbury.
His Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, Feb. 1st at 11 a.m. in St. Brigid Church, 59 N. Main Street, Millbury. Burial will follow at St. Brigid Cemetery, Millbury.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations in his memory may be made to the McAuley Nazareth Home For Boys of Leicester, Nativity School of Worcester or the Roach Family scholarship fund which supports graduates of Millbury High School.