Mr. James M. Roach (’82)

James Michael Roach 1958-2020


James Michael Roach, 61, passed away Thursday, January 16, 2020 while on assignment in Maputo, Mozambique. Jim was larger than life and his loss will be felt across the world.James was born April, 02, 1958, in Ottumwa, IA to Maurice Urban Roach and Betty Mosinski Roach. He graduated from The University of Iowa with a BBA in Accounting in 1979 and later graduated law school at The University Of Houston College of Law in 1982. He was a CPA and a licensed Lawyer in the state of Texas. Jim’s thirst for knowledge did not stop there and he went back to school not once but twice after joining the work force. He received his LLM in Taxation from New York University School of Law in 1991 and completed a Corporate Finance Program at the London Business School in 2004.James began his nearly 38 year career with ExxonMobil as a legal assistant in Houston TX after graduating Law School. He rose through the ranks as a Tax Attorney in Houston, TX, including a brief spell in New Jersey, until 1989 when he had the chance to move to London, England for his first of six expat assignments that spanned over four continents. Over the next two decades, Jim had the privilege to work as Tax Manager in Norway, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and England. After spending roughly 12 years in various positions back in Texas, James couldn’t turn down the opportunity for 1 more overseas assignment, including one more continent. As Business Services Manager in Maputo, Mozambique, James was given the privilege to build the Mozambique branch from the ground up with close friends and coworkers. Instrumental in acquiring the site for the future Exxonmobil building in Maputo, his legacy will continue.As a strong believer in education, James continued to give back to the academic community in anyway he could. This was especially important to him as he and Carol both received the same scholarship in back to back years, which enabled them to attend the University of Iowa. While it was fulfilling to donate funds, which he did through the James and Carol McTee Roach Family Scholarship at the University of Iowa and the James Roach Scholarship for Excellence at the University of Houston, James found it much more rewarding to give his time, effort, energy and emotions. In 2016, James was recognized for this by becoming the first corporate lawyer to receive the Dean’s Award from the University of Houston Law Center. In 2019, he received the Law Fund Volunteer Award for his efforts in raising funds for the UH Law Center. In addition, he was a director of the Houston Law Foundation board as well as the Vice President of the U.S. International Fiscal Association for the Houston Region. As the first member of the cornerstone club, James was able to be the first donor toward the new University of Law School Center. Adding to their legacy, James and Carol have additionally donated a lounge in the new building at the University of Houston Law School and an art room at Sam Houston State University new art complex.James enjoyed hunting, fast cars, motorcycles, Chelsea football and most importantly spending time with family and friends. Having such a large personality, James was always working the room wherever he went, whether it was a business or social event. James loved people and never met a stranger in his life. A run in with a stranger anywhere could turn into an all night event or a lifetime friendship. A true believer in “Work Hard, Play Hard”, James gave 100% in everything he did and was always scheming of ways to help and challenge people. His strong work ethic began as a teenager and continued throughout his life. At age 16, he worked over 40 hours a week as a Produce Manager while maintaining the grades to graduate as Valedictorian from Fairfield High School.James was preceded in death by his father, Maurice Urban Roach and his sister, Carolyn Ann Roach. James is survived by his mother Betty, wife Carol, brother John, three sisters, Marilyn, Marriane and Maureen, son Christopher & his better half Andrea, daughter Chelsea & son in law Andre, with two grandchildren Annasophia and Isabella. Funeral services will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe, TX. A closed casket visitation at the church will begin at an hour before the Funeral Mass. A reception at the church will follow after the ceremony.In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the Montgomery County Animal Shelter ( ) and the Houston Star of Hope Foundation ( ).

Submission Rules…

By submitting a class note, you agree:

  • All Class Notes are visible to the general public. Do not submit anything you wish to keep private.
  • The University of Houston reserves the right to edit all submissions.
  • No Advertising or any form of commercial solicitation is permitted.
  • Unauthorized copyrighted material will be deleted.

Learn More