James K. Roche

James K. Roche, M.D., Ph.D., passed away on Saturday, February 9, 2013, at his home in Albemarle County from complications of cardiac amyloidosis. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1943, the only child of the late James Norman and Rebecca Pilgram Roche. He grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, graduating from Oakmont High School, class of 1961. His academic journey continued at Dartmouth College, where he majored in Chemistry; the University of Pennsylvania for his medical training; Presbyterian Hospital Pittsburgh for internship; and Duke University for his internal medicine residency, fellowship in Gastroenterology, and Ph.D. in Immunology. Jim met his wife of almost 40 years, Nancy Morgan Roche, on a winter carnival ski trip, while in the Public Health Service at National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C. They made their first home in Durham, North Carolina, where their two children were born. After completing his training, Jim joined the Duke University Medical Faculty. In 1987, he accepted an offer as Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Virginia and the family moved to Charlottesville. An academic center energized him and spoke to his never ending desire to learn. Research was a career long calling and in recent years he devoted more and more time to it. He was also known to be a good listener to his patients and always trying to think outside the box. As a lifelong Presbyterian, Jim actively engaged in a church community at each of his stops along the road. He has served the church as an Elder and a Deacon and on many committees and programs. Two special areas of involvement at First Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville that were of particular meaning to him were the establishment of the Mission Endowment Fund and the creation of Parrish Nurse Program. He also gave countless hours to teaching Sunday School and mentoring youth as they journeyed to membership in the church. In the community, he enjoyed volunteering on Habitat for Humanity builds and at the Free Clinic. A particular passion was his help to create the "Community Partnership for Improved Long Term Care," a committee under the Legal Aid Justice Center that serves as an advocacy group to improve quality of nursing home care, working with both staff and families. He loved family gatherings, which he tried to arrange whenever possible. His avid interest in the outdoors and vegetable gardening was well known among friends and family; and he loved to share his seedlings and produce with neighbors and co-workers. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; his son, James and wife, Jen, of Ambler, Pennsylvania; his daughter, Caroline West and husband, Robert, of Nashville, Tennessee; three grandchildren, Jamie and John Roche and Lillian West; two special cousins, Nancy Cameron and her husband, Bill, of Glade Springs, West Virginia, and Marianne Hogg and her husband, Bob Rubin, of State College, Pennsylvania; his mother-in-law, Ruth Morgan of Marlinton, West Virginia; and his sister-in-law, Stephany Morgan of Staunton.