The hardest part of any friendship is saying goodbye and early last week Macon County bid farewell to a dear friend, when Billy Roark quietly passed away at the age of 79.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, but as I sat down with his daughter, Carolyn Roark Sullivan, she remembered every precious expression, and recalled each and every milestone of his life, as she spoke of the man who had held her hand when she was a small child and hugged her often when she was an adult.
“Looking back, we were always on the go,” Carolyn recalled as tears pooled in her eyes, “and whether to an auction or a charity event, Daddy never seemed to run down, working at Carter Automotive and Lafayette Auction Company at the same time. Growing up, he always made sure all four of us kids had what we needed and around Christmas time, I remember him taking on extra work to provide us with a few nice gifts.”
“We had a big garden every year and if the potatoes weren’t dug up by the 4th of July, we didn’t get to go see the fireworks display at Sullivan’s Pond,” she laughed. “Dad was truly a wonderful man who taught us responsibility and the joys of a simpler way of life, lessons that we have all passed onto our own children. I treasure the memories of growing up in our household and in later years, we solved the world’s problems sitting in the rocking chairs on the front porch of Dad and Mom’s home on Meador Drive.”
“Daddy slowed down a lot after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, but he knew he was going to a better place, and he always told us kids to watch after Ma-Ma. He was such a blessing while he was still with us, and a wonderful example of how to live a life of faith. I thank him so much for the gifts of love and kindness that he has left us and I hope our relationship will be renewed in Heaven someday. But until then, I entrust him to God’s love, as he receives the reward of eternal life.”
Funeral services for Billy Roark were conducted on Wednesday night, at 8:00 p.m. from the chapel of Alexander Funeral Home with Brother Steve Peeler and Elder Dean Dyer officiating. Billy Barnfield, Jimmy Cox, Tim Johns, Colby Jones, Jerry Shoulders, Freddie Fuqua, Joseph Johnson, William Sullivan, Chris Harrison, Wyatt Harrison, Joe Barber, Tim Rush, Penny Kirby, Helen Howser, and Vanessa Ragland served as Honorary Pallbearers. Active Pallbearers included: Ben Bray, Greg White, Mike Frye, Bobby Greer, Daniel Keith, and Jeremy Robinson. Interment followed in the Haysville Cemetery.
Billy is survived by his wife of 56 years, Joann Freeman Roark; daughters, Elizabeth Ann (Roy) Swindle, Carolyn Sue Sullivan and companion Steve Veatch, and Mary Ruth Cook; son, Billy Joe (Peggy) Roark; dear friend, Mary Ruth Halcomb; grandchildren, Rebecca Ann (Chris) Harrison, Joseph Matthew (Tonia) Johnson, and William Christopher Sullivan; great grandchildren, Libby Sullivan and Wyatt Harrison.
Alexander Funeral Home, in Lafayette, in charge of arrangements.