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Eileen Roche passed away on January 4th, 2024 at her beloved Marco Island Florida home at age 91 with family nearby and a lifetime of memories to be shared for a long time to come.
Eileen was born in Dorchester Massachusetts on March 20, 1932. She was the third of five children born to Joseph and Anna Sullivan both immigrants from County Kerry Ireland. She was a proud graduate of Mission Hill High School and would always light up whenever encountering fellow alumni.
After graduation her family moved to West Roxbury and Eileen found a job with the telephone company on Belvidere Street in downtown Boston. It wasn’t long after joining Ma Bell (as she called it) that she met the love of her life (Daniel F.) Buddy Roche. When they started dating Eileen’s mother was not too impressed with her daughter’s choice. Her other two daughters had married college boys who were both engineers. Buddy was just a few years out of the Marines and had a small meat market in Roslindale Square with his brother Pat, called Roche Bros.
Eileen and Buddy were married on June 6th, 1957 at Saint Theresa’s in West Roxbury. They honeymooned in the Pocono Mountains but they had to cut their vacation a little short because Buddy and Pat were about to expand their little meat market and start carrying groceries and Buddy was getting very nervous, “jiggy” as Eileen called it.
They moved into a nice little house in Walpole and a year later in 1958 their first child Danny was born. Followed by Jay in 1959, Patty in 1960 and Brenda in 1964. It was two years later in 1966 that Buddy and Pat built their first Supermarket from the ground up in Needham Massachusetts. Soon after, Buddy moved the family to the town and always said it was there his luck started.
As Eileen and Buddy’s family grew so did the family business. Buddy and Pat open stores in West Roxbury, Westwood, Natick and many other towns. All of Eileen and Buddy’s children worked in the stores and the people they worked with became part of the extended family. Roche Bros. Christmas parties became family reunions, long time employees were Dutch aunts and uncles to the kids and building the Fourth of July floats was a great time for everyone.
In 1986 tragedy struck the family when their daughter Patty was diagnosed with cancer and passed away at the age of 25. As any parent who loses a child knows they were devastated. In Patty’s memory they endowed a scholarship in her name at Stonehill College, which has so far paid for the college education of 186 children of Roche Bros. associates with 25 students currently enrolled.
Buddy and Pat were generous supporters of all the towns they did business in and donated to countless causes. One of Eileen’s favorites was the sculpture of ring around the rosie in the Needham town common. It leaves a spot for a child to join in which Eileen thought was a great message of acceptance and inclusion.
By the 1990’s Eileen and Buddy were spending more time with friends and family, which now included their first grandchild Amanda. They had a large social circle, which centered on Charles River Country Club and they traveled the world.
Buddy retired by the end of the decade and he and Eileen now spent their winters on Marco Island in Florida. The family would spend many holidays and vacations on the Island, which now included two more grandchildren, Will and Vienna.
Buddy passed away in 2013 and Eileen was lucky to have many close friends and family to keep her busy with bridge and golf but she thought of Buddy every day. One of Eileen and Buddy’s favorite traditions was to have a glass of wine watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico. After Buddy’s passing the first toast was always “To Buddy”. That toast will continue but will have to be amended to “Eileen and Buddy” and all those great memories.
Eileen leaves her son Dan of Dover, Jay and his wife Laurie of Boston, Brenda of Marshfield. Her grandchildren, William of Boston, Vienna of New York and Amanda Stahl and her husband Jake of Newton who are parents to Eileen’s great grandchildren Claire and Miles.
Visiting hours will be held in the Eaton Funeral Home, 1351 Highland Ave. in Needham on Wednesday January 17th from 4:00 – 8:00 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial in celebration of her life will be held at St. Joseph’s Church, 1360 Highland Ave, Needham, on Thursday January 18th at 10:00 am. In lieu of flowers gifts can be made to the Patty Roche Scholarship at Stonehill College.