Well-known Tri-Citian Patricia Roach dies at 90

By Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldMay 18, 2012 

Patricia "Pat" Sullivan Roach spent her life serving her family and the Tri-Cities.

"She lived her whole life as a prayer," said her eldest son Mike Roach.

Patricia Roach died Wednesday at age 90.

She was a well-known member of the Tri-City community, in part for her connections to Lourdes Medical Center, involvement in St. Patrick's Parish and her 12 years as a librarian at Mark Twain Elementary School.

She always stressed the importance of faith and family, said Mike Roach. "She was Irish Catholic to the core."

She made time to be with family when they invited her, whether it was vacation or dinner, he said.

Patricia Roach was one of the first babies born at the new Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital on Sept. 15, 1921, to Ellen Elizabeth Makens Sullivan and John Frances Sullivan.

Sister Mary Williams, who grew up in Pasco, remembers Patricia Roach as a "pretty, lovely, friendly girl," who was popular. After all, she won the first ever Miss Pasco title in 1941 by receiving the most applause.

Patricia Roach graduated from Seattle University with a degree in sociology in 1946, then married Jack Roach at St. Patrick's Parish.

She gave birth to seven of her nine children at Lourdes, spent many years volunteering as a member of the auxiliary and even served on the hospital board.

She was active in St. Patrick's Par-ish and the school. Mary Chambers re-members her mother serving on the PTA. And when the school would only accept Pasco children, the family moved from Kennewick to Pasco.

Patricia Roach also served on the board for the Pasco Library and volunteered for the Franklin County Historical Society. She was an active Pasco High School alumnus and was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2004.

Chambers remembers her mother sewing clothes for the girls, and some of the button-down shirts the boys wore to church.

And after they moved to Pasco, she sewed together about 100 carpet samples to make a rug for one of the rooms, her son Pat Roach said.

"She was never afraid to try anything," Chambers said.

"If you could do it with a hammer and wood, she'd do it," Pat Roach added.

Her children recall how their parents emphasized college, and Pat Roach said they each had a bank account for college where they put part of whatever money they earned or were given as a gift. All nine of her kids graduated from Seattle University.

And like her own mother, Patricia Roach wrote poetry, often giving a four-stanza poem as a birthday gift, Chambers said.

One of her favorite words of wisdom was "be a contributing member of society," said her daughter Katie Thornhill.

Her other children include Tom Roach, Jerry Roach, Liz Johnston, Dan Roach and Theresa Cedergreen. She has 44 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

"She was just such a generous and loving person, and cheerful and outgoing," said Sister Esther Polacci. "She was always thinking of other people."

A vigil and rosary are planned at 4 p.m. May 27 at St. Patrick's Parish. Her funeral Mass is at 11 a.m. May 28 followed by a reception at the parish center, and her burial is at 9 a.m. May 29 at Pasco City View Cemetery.

-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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