John Roche

John Roche

October 19, 1940 April 24, 2020

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Obituary for John R. Roche

John Richard Roche, 79, of Wyomissing, passed away on April 24, 2020, in his daughter Maureen's home where he had been staying in recent days.

He was the widower of Gwendolyn R. (Benoit) Roche, who died April 24, 2006.

Born on October 19, 1940, in Hartford, Connecticut, he was the son of the late James Francis Roche and Ethel (Ryan) Roche.

John graduated from North Haven High School in 1958 where he played football, basketball, and baseball. John was inducted into North Haven's Athletic Hall of Fame in November, 2001.

Following his graduation from high school, he enrolled in Columbia University, where he played freshman football and baseball and lettered in both sports at the varsity level for the next three years. He received his BA in English in May of 1962.

John enlisted in the Naval Reserves in November of 1962 and was employed by Travelers Insurance Company on March 4, 1963, as a Group Department Sales Trainee. He took a leave of absence from Travelers to attend Naval Officer Candidate School in June of 1964 and was commissioned an Ensign in October of that year. After commissioning, he was assigned to the USS Francis Marion APA-249, an amphibious attack transport. John spent his entire three year active duty tour aboard the Francis Marion and was the Personnel Officer for six months, the 5th Division Officer and Boat Group Commander for two years and was the ship's Boatswain for the final six months. During his tenure as Boat Group Commander, the Francis Marion was awarded the "Crossed Anchors," symbolic of excellence in the ship to shore movement in the Atlantic Fleet.

He was released from active duty in October 1967, and returned to the Traveler's for refresher training and assigned to their Worcester, Massachusetts office in March of 1969. John was promoted and transferred to Reading, PA in July of 1969, where he stayed for the balance of his career. He retired as an Associate Manager in the Employee Benefits and Managed Care Operation Department in July of 1993.

After a year's hiatus from the Naval Reserves, he affiliated with an Inshore/Underwater Unit in Lynn, Massachusetts and remained in the active reserves until his retirement in October, 1986. He retired as a Commander with 23 years of credited service.

John married his high school sweetheart Gwen, nee Benoit, on February 16, 1963, and they were virtually inseparable for the next forty three years. They had two children, Dan and Maureen, and their lives were centered around their children's activities and friends. John and Gwen were consummate parents.

John loved sports and he had an affinity for young people. He coached little league baseball for three years and midget football for one year in his hometown of North Haven, Connecticut. Upon relocating to Wyomissing, he coached in the Wyomissing youth basketball program for three years and was the Atonement Lutheran Church's mixed softball coach for five years. He served one term on Church Council as Youth Committee Chairman and was on one of the ushering teams for ten years.

John was an extremely gregarious person and loved to make people laugh. He was an avid golfer and played two or three times a week. He welcomed the challenge that golf presented, but absolutely loved the social opportunity it afforded. He was a decent golfer and had two holes-in-one during his career, but clearly his best hole was the 19th.

Besides, Dan and Maureen, he is survived by Dan's wife, Candy; two sisters, Barbara Kuslan and Patricia Calatayud of Wallingford, Connecticut and a brother Mike of North Haven, Connecticut. Other survivors include his grandchildren, Jonathan and Alison Wildman.

John was predeceased by his son-in-law, Kurt Wildman.

A celebration of John's life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Atonement Lutheran Church, 5 Wyomissing Boulevard, Wyomissing, PA 19610. Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc. West Reading is honored to assist John's family. Condolences may be expressed at

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Service Details

  • Interment

    Berks County Memorial Gardens
    201 Evansville Road
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Lori Kunkle

We are so sorry to learn of the passing of John. We have so many fond memories of he and Gwen. We had the opportunity to travel with them for “work” trips. John will be missed but I’m sure there is comfort in knowing that John and Gwen are reunited. Our heartfelt condolences to the family. Mark and Lori Kunkle
Comment | Posted at 04:20pm via Condolence

Maureen,Dan and Families,
Chris and I are saddened to learn of John's passing. We regret having lost touch over the last few years. Although we knew John for a relatively short period of time, we shared common interests. Our association with the Travelers was highlighted by conversations about sports and by several golf outings. John joined use at few local high school football games where he offered insightful commentary. He was one of the few Hall of Fame members we have known. John was humble yet self-assured, articulate, yet humorous. Most of all we will never forget the moving eulogy he gave Gwen at Atonement in April, 2006.

The Bucks
Comment | Posted at 10:09pm via Condolence

Ted Baer

Condolences to the family. I only knew John for a few years of his very fulfilling life. He spent some retirement years assisting the HR Department at Weidenhammer Systems Corporation in Wyomissing, and I was one of many folks hired by him who came to love his presence. I'm sure the family will miss his wonderful sense of humor, and I wouldn't doubt that many of his family picked up not only on his work ethic; but also, his ability to play. May he Rest In Peace.
Ted Baer
Comment | Posted at 11:16am via Condolence

Judy Dengler

I had the pleasure of working with your Dad back in the 70’s at Travelers and he was such a great guy. We had many laughs together and I will never forget him. Your Mother was so kind and you two were his pride and joy. My deepest sympathy to you and your families. May you Rest In Peace John.
Comment | Posted at 05:59am via Condolence

Joel Fastow

Dear Dan, Maureen and Candy,
I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your beloved Dad. My sincere condolences on your loss. I know that you guys were very close to him and know how much he meant to you.
With sincere sympathy:
Joel and Michelle Fastow
Comment | Posted at 11:50am via Condolence

Why light a candle?

This is why you should light a candle..

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