Gallery: Former mayor farewelled

BAGPIPES, the grand music of Handel, Faure and Sibelius and a light-hearted song from Perry Como were part of the celebration of John Roach’s life yesterday.

The funeral service for the former Albury mayor drew more than 200 mourners to St Matthew’s Church eight days after he died at home, aged 77.

Aptly for a “mover and shaker” who saw Albury prosper and grow, he was laid to rest among his Lester ancestors in the Pioneer Cemetery in a plot he bought for four pounds in 1961.

Naturally, fine tributes were paid to his work for the city, the community and his extended family but lighter moments of his life were also recalled.

Few who knew the dignified mayor of the 1970s and 1980s could imagine he once dressed as Lady Godiva and rode a horse on Dean Street.

That was a moment from his years with Apex, one of the service and charitable groups he was part of — aside from being a councillor for 40 years, 12 as mayor.

Mr Roach’s only brother, Colin, recalled the Lady Godiva incident in his eulogy, while the mayor Alice Glachan spoke of his dedication to the city and his vision for growth.

“He leaves many legacies that have made Albury what it is today,” she said.

Faure’s Pie Jesu was sung as Colin Roach and his cousin, former mayoress Yvonne Jackson, lit a candle before Archdeacon Peter MacLeod-Miller led an opening prayer.

MPs Sussan Ley and Greg Aplin read the lessons. Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer and former Victorian roads minister Bill Baxter were mourners.

Be Still My Soul from Sibelius’ Finlandia was played as Archdeacon John Davis honoured the casket with holy water and incense.

Father Kevin Flanagan did not take part because he was indisposed.

The Scots School Pipes and Drums played The Scottish Soldier as the casket was carried out, with two of Mr Roach’s oldest friends, Cr Patricia Gould and Maurice Chick, standing by the pipers.

Several godchildren of Mr Roach accompanied family members as the procession passed through a guard of honour from The Albury Club.

Father MacLeod-Miller, noting that Mr Roach went to Seattle to launch the “City of Albury” jumbo jet in 1977, introduced Perry Como’s In Seattle.

“John Roach was a man who had friends everywhere,” he said.

St Matthew’s bells tolled as priests and pipers led the cortege into Kiewa Street, where Mr Roach had worked so long as a real estate agent, alderman and mayor.

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