George Arnold Roach

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George Arnold Roach

July 28, 1929 - November 03, 2018

Merrill, ME and Clearwater, FL - Col. George Arnold Roach
Well-known Maine potato grower and Democratic Party activist Colonel George Arnold Roach passed away on November 3, 2018. Arnold, as he was known to his many friends and colleagues, was born July 28, 1929, in Rockland, Maine, the eldest child of Herbert and Nora (Nelson) Roach.
A graduate of Ricker College, Arnold proudly served for more than fifty years with the Maine Army National Guard, received the United States Army Meritorious Service Medal and became certified in field artillery, air defense, and command. Arnold was a patriotic man who was honored to serve his country. He retired from the guard at the rank of Colonel.
Arnold was a third-generation potato grower. He and his wife, Joyce (McKay) Roach, owned and operated Forest Home Farms in Smyrna Mills, a growing and packing operation with a national reputation for producing Grade-A table stock and seed potatoes, fine grains and mustard. His father, Herb, and his grandfather, Azial Roach, owned and operated the farm before him. Arnold was dedicated to improving the quality and number of Maine potatoes, as well as advancing the industry's international reputation. He was chairman of the Maine Potato Commission, the National Potato Promotion Board (which advertises US potatoes worldwide), chairman of the National Potato Board, National Potato Council, Maine Potato Board, Maine Potato Council, Advisory Board, and the New York Mercantile Exchange Advisory Board. He also served as Aid de Camp to former Maine Governor Joseph Brennan.
His hard work and dedication to the entire State of Maine, as well to the Maine potato industry, caught the attention of President William Jefferson Clinton, who in 1991 appointed Arnold as Maine state director of the United States Farm Service Agency, a position he held until he retired in 2001. He also served as a member of the Clinton-Gore Presidential Transition Team. Arnold's expertise in agriculture was also called upon to help other nations improve their agricultural programs, and during that time he was able to travel extensively to other countries. He was most satisfied with his trips to Russia and China, where he met with local farmers, exchanged ideas, and made many lasting friendships.
Arnold was also active in his community, serving on the Northern Maine Regional Planning Commission, the Governor's Small Business Advisory Commission, chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Southern Aroostook Community School District, and moderator for local town meetings in Merrill and Smyrna. He was a member of the American Legion; the Retired Officers Association, and the Elks Club, and both he and his Joyce were active Democrats, serving on committees and attending caucuses.
More than anything else, Arnold enjoyed spending time with family at his beloved home on the hill overlooking downtown Smyrna Mills, and at the family's cottage on Pleasant Lake in Island Falls. He also enjoyed his winter home in Pinellas Park, Florida, which he and Joyce purchased together many years ago, and later his condo in Clearwater, Florida.
Arnold is survived by three daughters, Diane Tardy and her husband, Michael, of Beaverton, Oregon, Suzanne Spruce of Bangor, and Elizabeth Roach of Washington, DC; two granddaughters, Jessica Bynum of Beaverton, Oregon and her husband, Michael, and Sarah Spruce of Boston; and one grandson, Andrew Spruce of Washington, DC; and a great-granddaughter, Nora, of Portland, Oregon; and his current wife, Rosemary Thatch and her family, of Clearwater, Florida. He will also be missed by his many friends from throughout The County, state and nation. Arnold was predeceased by his wife of 56 years, Joyce, his parents, Nora and Herbert, and his sister, Barbara Roach, RN.
Memorial services will be held in Clearwater, Florida, and Houlton, Maine, at dates to be announced later. Arnold asked that those wishing to remember him in a special way make a gift to the Dollars for Scholars program at Southern Aroostook Community School, 922 Dyer Brook Road, Dyer Brook, Me. 04747.
Published on November 5, 2018
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