Roger E. Roche, 78, of Southport, Maine, the retired director of Design and Production Services, died Jan. 20 at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, after a brief illness.
Born in Salisbury, Conn., he attended the Grove School and Salisbury Central School and graduated from Housatonic Valley Regional High School in 1953. After a stint on an oil-pipeline survey crew in the Louisiana swamps, he enlisted in the Air Force in 1954, the same year he married Ann Parsons Reel of Canaan, Conn. During the next four years, he was stationed in Hawaii, Manassas, Va., and Cheyenne, Wyo., serving in communications and as a draftsman.
After completing his Air Force service, he followed his lifelong interest in art and design by enrolling at Rhode Island School of Design, from which he graduated in 1962 with a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design. After graduation, he was hired as a graphic designer at Chartpak in Leeds, and moved with his family to Northampton.
In 1963, he accepted the position of staff assistant in the campus’s Publications Office. Subsequently, he proposed the creation of Design and Production Services and became its first director with responsibility for producing the university’s marketing, promotional and academic materials.
In 1966, he designed the university’s ceremonial mace, which was built by Armand J. Costa, associate professor of mechanical engineering. The mace made its debut at Commencement in 1967 and has been in use at major university ceremonies ever since.
After the opening of campuses in Boston and Worcester, Roche created a unified visual identity for the three-campus system.
He served in the Professional Association of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (PAUMA) Senate.
In 1985, he retired moved to Southport, where he pursued his artistic interests and designed and helped implement major renovations to the fire station, the town office building and the Southport Memorial Library in Newagen.
He leaves his wife, and children Jonathan C. Roche of Turners Falls, Suzanne Roche of Florence, and Amelia L. Roche of Westbrook, Maine, a grandson, a niece and two nephews.
Burial will take place in May at St. Joseph Cemetery in Canaan, Conn.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Friends of the Southport Memorial Library, P.O. Box 338, Southport ME 04576.
Family and friends are invited to share condolences by visiting Roger’s Book of Memories at www.hallfuneralhomes.com.