Msgr. William H. Roche Pilot file photo
Msgr. William H. Roche passed away peacefully in his sleep at the archdiocese's Regina Cleri residence for retired priests May 28. He was 90 years old.
Born in Woburn on Nov. 14, 1921, he was the son of the late William H. and Marguerite (Manning) Roche, and the brother of Janice Salvesen of Winthrop, and the late Virginia Slade-Murphy and Richard Roche.
He attended St. Charles Elementary School in Woburn, and was a graduate of Keith Hall in Lowell. Following high school, he continued his education at Boston College, receiving his degree in 1943.
Immediately following his graduation from Boston College he joined the U.S. Army, serving as a paratrooper in the OSS, the military's intelligence agency. Serving as a captain, his missions were often secretive and he spent a great amount of time behind enemy lines, particularly in China.
When Msgr. Roche returned home, he entered St. John's Seminary and was ordained by Cardinal Richard Cushing on May 3, 1950 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
He began his priestly ministry as a temporary assistant at St. Mary's Church in Chelmsford, remaining there for only about 10 months. In February 1951 he began a 20-year assignment with the Catholic Boys' Guidance Center in Boston -- nine years as assistant director and 11 years as director. Founded by Msgr. Thomas McNamara in 1946, the center housed up to 40 children from ages 11 to 16 with emotional disabilities.