In tribute: Pastor remembered for loving nature

Courtesy photo Longtime Texas and New Mexico pastor Roy Roach died Sept., 8 at 85 of congestive heart failure.

Kevin Wilson

Roy Roach trusted people enough to not need a contract, and he trusted his congregation enough to show up without any outreach beyond his personality and love.

They did.

The longtime Texas and New Mexico pastor died Sept., 8 at 85 of congestive heart failure.

Born Jan. 1, 1925 in Field, Roach grew up in rural New Mexico and spent most of his career within a few hours of his hometown, but daughter Billie Brand said he’d often take trips around the country to visit his siblings, children and grandchildren.

He started his career in the church early, and pastored a small mission when he was 19. His career took him throughout Texas and New Mexico, but he didn’t have to go far to find his family.

His wife, Eunice Roach, grew up in nearby St. Vrain.

“We kind of started eying each other,” Eunice said. “It wasn’t long before we started dating each other.”

About four years after they dated, the two married. Eunice did what she could to support her husband at every church, but she said he didn’t need much help.

“It seemed like he just loved people,” Eunice said. “People loved him, and it didn’t take long to get acquainted with him.

“They recognized pretty quick that he was a preacher that cared for them.”

It wasn’t too long, Eunice Roach said, before members sought him for non-spiritual matters. If you needed help with a prayer group, Roy was there. If you needed to put in an air conditioner, Roy was there just the same.

When he wasn’t on the road or in front of the congregation, he was taking on some timber.

“His passion, besides preaching, was woodworking,” Brand said. “He always worked part time and he was a cabinet builder in Midland for 10 years.”

He’d also build small, and friends never knew when to expect trinkets or paper towel holders with the Roy Roach touch.

“He didn’t really play golf or fish or anything,” Brand said, “but he liked to do that.”

As he entered his final years of preaching, he decided to simplify while other churches expanded outreach efforts. The congregation at Prince Street Baptist Church tripled over his final five years — without church secretary or telephone number, let alone a website, Twitter account or Facebook page.

“We didn’t have a secretary,” Eunice Roach said, “so we decided to take (the phone) out because there was nobody down there.

“He just showed his love to people”

The key, whether it was as a father, a grandfather or a pastor, was mutual trust.

“His saying was that he didn’t need to sign a paper; a handshake was enough,” Brand said. “He taught us great Christian examples and morals.”