To the Editor:
Pat was a long-time supporter of the Parkway Boys & Girls Club and was one of the two driving forces in the creation of the Roche Family Community Center on Centre Street.
The Boys & Girls Club was closed in 1992 due to overwhelming debt and the building was going to be auctioned off by the FDIC in 1996. As chair of the George Robert White Fund, Mayor Thomas M. Menino was very supportive of efforts to save this community asset but there was a need for a strong corporate partner to convert the building to a City-operated Community Center.
Pat Roche was contacted and eagerly signed on for a financial commitment over several years to establish a firm fiscal and management foundation for the Center. Pat personally attended numerous meetings to ensure that the neighborhood’s vision was accomplished.
The new Community Center team outbid Gold’s Gym at the auction on December 8, 1996. Make no mistake, without Pat Roche there would be no Roche Family Community Center in West Roxbury and the recreation facility would have been lost for generations of Parkway kids and families.
Bud and Eileen Roche then generously provided the funding for extensive renovations to the facility several years later. Pat and Bud never forgot where they came from and Roche Brothers Supermarkets has a long history of generosity to local charities both big and small.
As we take our kids into hockey games at the Jim Roche Community Ice Arena or basketball practice at the Roche Family Community Center, let’s say a quiet word of thanks to Pat Roche and this extremely generous family for all they’ve done for our neighborhoods.
The Parkway has lost a great guy and a true friend of our neighborhood.
Frank X. O’Brien
Founding President – Roche Family Community Center