James "Jim" E. RoartyDecember 15, 1927 ~ December 3, 2017 (age 89)
James Roarty, age 89, of Ashwaubenon, passed away peacefully with family at his side, on Sunday, December 3, 2017, at Bellin Memorial Hospital after a decade long fight with Alzheimer’s Disease. Jim was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, on December 15, 1927, to Daniel Roarty and Mary Ellen Blitz. He met the love of his life, Doreen Comeau, in Milwaukee in 1949. On August 25, 1951, they were married at St. Rose of Lima Church in Milwaukee and spent 66 years together, the last 50 years in Ashwaubenon.
Jim was a son, brother, soldier, husband, father, uncle, godfather, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Family was all important to Jim and he loved telling stories about growing up in Ottumwa, reminiscing about his aunts, uncles, brothers, cousins, and friends. His favorite stories were about the time he walked under Niagara Falls and about putting on the spurs and climbing a telephone pole where he could sit comfortably up there without a care in the world.
As a family, we enjoyed camping trips throughout Wisconsin with the NCHA, summer road trips, and occasional family reunions. Jim was active as an adult leader with the Boy Scouts while the boys were in scouting and was famous for his midnight troop hike across a frozen Bear Paw Lake during winter camp.
As a young man, he wanted to join the military in WWII, but his father told him he needed to graduate high school first. He attended summer school and graduated in December of his senior year. He joined the Army in 1946, serving in the 3186 Signal Service Battalion in the 8th Army Pacific Theater, serving in Japan.
After his discharge from the Army, he returned to Ottumwa and shortly afterwards, moved to Milwaukee to begin an apprenticeship as an electrician for the Milwaukee Road Railroad. A couple of years later, his job took them to Green Bay where he and Doreen remained for over 60 years. When the Milwaukee Road Railroad closed in Green Bay, he found a job with Paper Converting Machine Company before retiring in 1992.
He was active in the IBEW union, serving as Treasurer for several years. Jim and Doreen enjoyed square dancing, often traveling for square dance conventions. After retiring, they would travel to Elder Hostels around the country. He was a handy man and could find a way to jerry-rig just about anything.
Jim is survived by his wife, Doreen and their sons (and wives), Dan and Kathy, Mike and Cheryl, and Tim and Holly. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law, Harriette Niemi and Laura Lee (Curt) Gullickson; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and nine nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Daniel and Mary Ellen (Blitz) Roarty; Doreen’s parents, Leroy and Doris Comeau; his brothers and their wives, Bernard (Glenis) Roarty and Robert (Ruth) Roarty; his brother-in-law, Eino Niemi; granddaughter, Lauren Delaney Roarty; and his best friend, Wolfgang Schuler.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, December 9, 2017, at St. John the Baptist Church, 2597 Glendale Ave., Howard, from 9:00 a.m. until the time of Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. Rev. Scott Valentyn will be officiating. Entombment will be in Allouez Catholic Mausoleum. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) in memory of Jim.
Jim’s family wishes to extend a special thank you to the staff in the Deer Haven wing at Allouez Parkside Village for their extraordinary care and compassion.
And Dad, they never did find out what you were doing on the top of that pole.