Remembrance of the Life of William F. Roat CoL
Loretto Co-member Bill Roat met Michele Stimac in 1974 in Boston. He was a systems engineer, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and she, the former Sister Mary Michael, was teaching and counseling at Boston University and then Babson College. As the couple wrote years later, “Bill quickly became enamored with Michele’s background in Loretto. He appreciated the Loretto spirit and commitment to peace and justice. Bill’s immersion in science at MIT and his years in the military during World War II only convinced him that there was a life of the Spirit as well as a life of Science.”
In 1975 both moved to Los Angeles, where Bill took a position as electronics engineer at Hughes Aircraft and taught math at Southwest Community College until he retired. Bill and Michele were married in 1978 in Crested Butte, her hometown. It was Bill’s second marriage. He and Michele grew very close to both their families, including Bill’s brother and sister, his four adult children, Bruce, Greg, Lucine and Armine, and his grandson, Haydn.
William Roat was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., the child of a family proud to claim an ancestor who served in the American Revolution. In his brief autobiography, written when he applied for co-membership in 1988, Bill wrote, “I have always wanted to do something worthwhile with my life. When I was a child in 1936, I went to the World’s Fair where I saw what seemed like hundreds of scientific exhibits and demonstrations. It was then, [at the age of 12], that I decided I wanted to become a scientist.
“My interest in amateur radio as a young boy eventually led me to a series of radar schools. … When World War II broke out, I found myself in the Army as a radio repairman. After the war, I attended engineering schools and became an electronics engineer. … As an avocation, I have for many years had an interest in the stock market. I study it avidly and, God willing, hope someday my study will pay off.
“I have belonged to such organizations as the Lions Club, and served as a Scout Master when my children were small. I make contributions to such causes as Paralyzed Veterans, Korean Orphans, American Indian Relief Council, Association of Handicapped Artists, the Pygmy fund, MADD and the Christian Appalachian Project.
“Through Michele, when we moved to Los Angeles I met Kathleen Tighe and Kay Lane and we became good friends. They suggested that we attend the Loretto Reunion in Estes Park in 1985, and that inspired me to think about joining the Lorettos, [from whom I hoped for] inspiration, love, support and friendship.”
Bill and Michele made their co-member commitments as a couple at Dillon Beach, Calif., on May 29, 1988, under the guidance of Kathleen Tighe. Offering to share love and friendship with the Sisters of Loretto, and support for a philosophy he agrees with, Bill added, “God willing, through good investments I will someday make a significant contribution to the Sisters; until then I contribute as I can and offer gifts I have received through my education and professional work.”
After a fruitful work life in Los Angeles, the two retired to Denver in 1997. They have lived at Concordia, a retirement community in Littleton since 2008. They recently wrote of their retirement, “We are happy that Concordia is only three miles south of the Denver Loretto Center, which means we can spend a great deal of time with the Loretto Community there. Sometimes we feel like we live in two places. We share liturgy with the Community at the Center weekly and on all special occasions.
“Over the years we have attended most Loretto functions and we are proud to claim that we have missed only two Loretto Assemblies in all our years as co-members. That alone should indicate how important Loretto is to us.”
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of their co-membership and the 35th anniversary of their marriage, they wrote, “We said we were eager then and we are even more eager now to share Loretto’s commitment to peace and justice. Have we lived up to the commitments we made? Every day, we ask ourselves that question. With the support of the Loretto Community, our family and our friends, we move forward in an unpredictable world and renew our commitments.”
Michele will bury Bill at the Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, where he will be honored once more as a World War II Bronze Star recipient. His Loretto friends will be present to honor him as a man who has indeed “done something worthwhile” with his life.
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