ROACH, Albert Lee
Born October 14, 1919 in Vance, Texas passed away on Saturday, February 22, 2020, he was 100. He is survived by his wife of 77 years, Evelyn, daughters, Karen White, Vivian Mason and son-in-law Lindy Mason; grandchildren LeeAnn Fitzgerald, Chris Mason and Penney Mason Lewis and grandson-in-law, Aaron Lewis; great-grandchildren Allan and Aleeya Fitzgerald. He was a Veteran of World War II, Korean and Vietnam wars, serving 34 years in the U.S. Air Force.
The family knew him as "Lee", others as "Al" and the Air Force and San Bernardino Unified School District as "Roach". He and one of his sisters lived to be 100, his Father lived to be 104. Lee grew up on a farm. He milked cows, had chores, made some money picking tomatoes in the fields, worked on cars, tractors – a typical mechanic and could do anything you needed done. He worked magic with his hands. He joined the Army Air Corps, which later became the U.S. Air Force. Lee was one of the first recruits sworn into service at Goodfellow A.F.B. in San Angelo, Texas in 1941 along with Admiral Nimitz’s son (picture below). One of his earliest jobs in the Military was as a M.P. (military police). Over the years he told stories about his basic training involving cleaning up the surrounding land to create Goodfellow A.F.B.
Although he planned to marry his sweetheart, Evelyn Davis, the date had not been set. America was becoming actively involved in WWII. Afraid that he would be shipped out to a destination unknown, they decided to get married before he got any orders. Quickly, they prepared to get to married in the living room of Evelyn’s Aunt’s home, unaware that the day was July 4, 1942. Evelyn is currently 96 years old and they have been married 77 ½ years.
Due to vertigo, Lee was unable to become a pilot, as he had always wanted. Instead, he found himself responsible for the repair and maintenance of the airplanes. He took this responsibility very seriously; he knew that his job made the difference whether a pilot would make it back home. His list of aircraft that he worked on is vast and includes (but not limited to) the B-17, B-25, B-29, B-51 and B-52 bombers. He visited many countries during his enlisted time which included Spain, Japan, Thailand, and Greenland. Lee’s 34 year career spanned over World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was nominated for the prestigious award of being “Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force”, during his career, which covered all of the United States. He retired in 1975 at Norton A.F.B. in San Bernardino, Ca..
Retirement was short lived as he began to be a substitute with the San Bernardino Unified School District. His Father urged him to be become a permanent employee, if he was going to work the hours he was putting in and 30 years later, he had his 2nd career under his belt.
Lee was a proud Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather who was always interested in the goals and accomplishments of his loved ones. The last event he attended was his Great Granddaughter’s high school graduation in May 2019. His dry humor and quick wit kept you on your toes. He loved to work on cars, houses, you name it and always held dear his 1954 Chevy Belair, as that was his first brand new car.
He passed away, quietly, at home – where he wanted to be. His family, beloved pets and belongings that held memories of his family, travels and his many accomplishments surrounded him. His treasures were in his love of his wife, Evelyn and daughters, Karen and Vivian. When the grandchildren, LeeAnn, Chris and Penney came into his life his world became more beautiful. Never believing he would live to enjoy Great Grandchildren, he doted on Allan and Aleeya when they arrived and being retired, he enjoyed being more involved with them as they grew up. His riches were beyond words.
A Viewing and Visitation will be held on March 4th, 2020 6pm - 8pm at Johnson's Funeral Home , San Angelo, Texas
Funeral Services with Military Honors will be held on March 5th, 2020 11am at Fairmount Cemetery, San Angelo, Texas.
You may contact them at 325-655-3113.
In lieu of flowers please donate to the following link: https://www.vfw.org/foundation/foundation-donate
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