Virgil J. Roeder

Virgil J. Roeder, age 90, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, May 14th, in Tucson, AZ, following a 17-month long courageous battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Services will be held at 10 am June 3rd, at the Marana Mortuary officiated by Father Jim Shea. Military honors will be presented by the Davis Monthan AFB Honor Guard. Interment will be at the Marana Veterans Memorial Cemetery at a later date.

The youngest son of Gerald and Myrtle (Peterman) Roeder, Virgil was born on September 5th, 1932, on the family farm in Jackson County, Iowa. His family moved from the farm to Spragueville, Iowa, where Virgil grew up helping his family run the Roeder General Store. He had many fond memories from this chapter in his life that provided the basis for many of the great stories he told later in life. Following graduation from Preston, Iowa High School in 1951, he enlisted in the USAF during the Korean War. He served honorably from 1953 – 1957. On August 4th, 1953, Virgil married the love of his life, June (Cook) Roeder, the start of a lifelong love affair filled with joy and happiness. Together they had 5 children: Nancy, Mark, Susan, Scott and Troy.

Following his discharge from the USAF, he took full advantage of VA education benefits to enroll in the Business Administration Program, College of Business at the University of Iowa, completing his BBA degree in three years.

Virgil worked at the John Deere Dubuque Tractor Works from 1961 until his retirement in 1986. During much of that time he served as the Payroll Supervisor, a position he thoroughly enjoyed.  Never one to sit still, Virgil returned to the workforce from 1991 – 2001, working in Patient Accounts at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Seeking a warmer climate, Virgil and June moved to Tucson, AZ, but continued annual summer trips to Iowa in their motor home to visit family and friends. Always wanting to keep busy, Virgil started his third career in Tucson, working at Safeway Grocery Store from 2007-2020 where he made many new friends. He reluctantly retired for good at the age of 88 and only because of the pandemic.

Throughout their lives together, Virgil and June enjoyed traveling and attending sporting events. They traveled throughout the United States, toured Europe and Hawaii, and took their extended family on five Caribbean cruises.  But their greatest pleasure was attending University of Iowa sporting events, including the 1991 Rose Bowl.  They supported Women’s Basketball at the University of Iowa and followed daughter Susan, attending her home and away games as she played on the team during the early years of the Iowa Women’s Basketball program. In addition, Virgil loved tinkering with cars, including a ’67 Mustang, two MGs, and two Triumph TR6s. His last toy was a 2000 Lexus convertible in mint condition to this day.

Virgil was a member of the John Deere Supervisors Club and a Lifetime Member of the University of Iowa Alumni Association.  Virgil was also a member of the Tucson Hawkeye Club where he and June were presented with the Hawkeye Spirit Award in 2021.

Virgil was preceded in death by his parents, Gerald and Myrtle Roeder; his brother Dr. Donald Roeder; and his sister, Marjorie Van Dorn.

Virgil is survived by June, his loving wife of 69 years, their children: Nancy (Dr. Tom Plamondon); Mark (Lynann); Susan; Scott (Kristine); and Dr. Troy (Stacy Hurry); his grandchildren: Jonathan, Kathleen, Jacob, Kaitlyn, Tirfie, and Dr. Jaclyn; numerous nieces and nephews; and very close family friends, Sheryl Nosbish and Jerry Nelson.

Virgil was a loving husband and father, offering unlimited support and encouragement to his children and grandchildren. Possessing a positive, and “can-do” attitude, along with an accepting personality, he left a lasting impression on so many people, making lifelong friends, and ultimately met his cancer head on, without complaint to the end. Virgil was a “people person”, always striving to put others before himself. In addition, he was as quick with a story as he was with lending a helping hand. In short, Virgil loved life and it showed. He will be greatly missed by all who were fortunate enough to have met him. In good times and in bad times dad always reminded us, “It’s all part of the fun!”

June and the family want to express their gratitude to the entire staff at the University of Arizona Cancer Center for their world-class care. They also wish to thank the crew from Station 34 at Northwest Fire Department and the Marana Police Department for their compassionate response.

In lieu of flowers, please consider sending memorials to the State University of Iowa Foundation (designate Ophthalmology & Visual Services) or the University of Arizona Cancer Research Center.

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