ROME- If you are weary of reading obituaries noting someone's courageous battle with illness, Joe would want it known that he lived to the age of 81 as a result of enjoying a rich life filled with the love of family, dry humor, hard work, and a deep appreciation for God and nature. With his fascination for all things space and aerospace Joe returned home to the stars on August 20, 2017 from the comfort of his beautiful home in Rome, NY surrounded by his family who will proudly carry on his life and legacy.
Born to Joseph E. and Sadie (Cieslak) Roback, Joseph P. Roback, "Joe/Joey" was the youngest of five, born in Utica on May 21, 1936. He was a curious thoughtful child, a graduate of UFA high school and man of many talents. Joe spent 35 +/- years working as an engineer at GE Utica and Syracuse until starting a successful components design company. Joe built his dream home in the country on the success of CDE, which he continued for 18 years. Joe retired in 2011.
On the dance floor men wanted to be him, women wanted to be with him, but a spitfire of a beauty named Jackie, caught his eye and captured his heart. On June 15, 1957 Joe married Jacqueline Y. (Zajac) Roback and shared 60 glorious years dancing to a "bop" rhythm all their own. Their union gave rise to four daughters with whom Joe shared his love of music and dance. He taught them to fish, build a good fire, to select a quality hammer, to love nature, and to just be thankful. He took great pride in stocking their toolboxes and taught them skillful use of power tools and covering up bear tracks around the campsite so Mom wouldn't see them.
He was Mr. Fix-it and worked on everything from building yard sized forms for glass smooth skating rinks to bookcases that opened a child's world to secret passages. In his younger years he would be seen with his head under the hood of some old clunker just to keep his family mobile. On Sundays after church and during football season he could be heard cursing/cheering the NY Giants.
Joe was a dedicated, selfless, and strong family man who always put the needs of his family above his own. Joe's spirit will be carried on by his loving wife Jackie whom he called "Mom"; daughter Susan Roback and partner Charlie Jones of Waterville, daughter Debbie and husband George Chandler of Floyd, daughter Sharon and husband Mike Yagey of Rome, daughter Jo and husband Ron Pal of Canastota. Known as "Dad" to his daughters' mates, he loved these men as sons.
Known as "Poppi" to his 7 grandchildren, he tirelessly attended sporting events, dance recitals, and was always there for whatever was needed. He will continue to watch over Aubree, Aryell and Arianna Chandler, Joey Yagey, Rhonee Shea and Chaye Pal. Poppi is most likely being shown the ropes by beloved grandson Anusha Yagey who traveled ahead of him in 2013.
The baby of his family, Joe was predeceased by his parents, eldest brother William Roback of Webster, beloved Aunt Sadie and Uncle Abraham Mittleman. He is survived by brothers Robert and Bernie, sister, Jackie Purnie, and many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Joe said goodbye to special friend, Carl Lawendowski in July.
Joe loved life, family, dogs, and a good laugh.
There are no calling hours. Friends and family are invited to a Mass of Christian Burial, Friday, August 25, 2017, at 12:00 p.m. at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, 105 E Liberty St, Rome, NY 13440. At Joe's request, a private burial will follow in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Arrangements are by the Nicholas J. Bush Funeral Home, Inc., 7751 Merrick Rd., Rome.
The family wishes to extend special thanks to Hospice for their unparalleled care and dedication during this time. In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting Hospice and Palliative Care, 4277 Middle Settlement Rd., New Hartford, NY 13413.
Jackie and Joe loved a poem written about the dream home they built in 1997. Jackie found it on a scratch pad in the garage, written by "son-in-law" Charlie Jones. She wishes to share this excerpt:
...with sweat and love and moon well shot
they'll sanctify the home they've got.
Deserving each and everything
that hard work, God, and love can bring.
I guess it shows, it's really true
You get back all the good you do.
And all they've given echoes still
since Jack and Joe went up the hill
and fetched a life worth livin'.
Now hand in hand they'll walk their
land and count their blessings given.
To offer online condolences, please visit www.njbushfuneralhome.com