John Roach Dies At 87

Former Cowboys quarterback and University Park mayor from 1988 to 1992 John Roach died Feb. 18 at 87, but leaves an enduring legacy.

Roach graduated from Highland Park High School, where he lettered in track, basketball and football, in 1951. 

He earned a scholarship to play football at SMU, where he played defensive back, punter, and quarterback. While at SMU, he met and married his wife, Patsy McKenzie. 

In 1956, Roach was drafted in the third round by the Chicago Cardinals, where he played for one year before serving in the U.S. Air Force for two years. He then played for the St. Louis Cardinals as their starting quarterback for one year before playing three years with the Green Bay Packers, who won two NFL Championships under Vince Lombardi in 1961 and 1962. 

In 1964, the Dallas Morning News reports, he retired from professional football and started an investment firm.

Cowboys coach Tom Landry called Roach back following an injury to quarterback Don Meredith, and he started four games, the paper reports. 

Roach remains the only person to have played football for the Highland Park Scots, SMU Mustangs, and Dallas Cowboys.

In 2006, he was selected as one of three distinguished alumni from Highland Park High School, and in 2008, a community track at Germany Park was christened the John Roach Track in his honor.

His years of service to the city of University Park began in 1978 as a member of the Board of Adjustment.  After serving in that capacity for six years, he was elected to the city commission in 1984.  After four years in that position, in 1988, Roach was elected mayor.  After he stepped down as mayor, he continued to serve the city as a member of the city’s Capital Projects Review Committee.    

His family asks those who’d like to contribute in his honor to support the Highland Park Education Foundation or the charity of their choice.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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