Jim and Arlene Roark were married on July 1, 1950, in the home of Arlene’s mother, Vera Willey. After a brief honeymoon they set up housekeeping at 214 Oakland Avenue in Mountain Grove, Missouri. Arlene went to work at Brown Shoe Company while Jim began his 42-year career with Western Light & Telephone Company.
Soon after their marriage, Jim put his work on hold because he was drafted into the United States Army where he served from September 1950 to January 1952. During his tour of duty, he was a staff sergeant in Korea with the 7th Division 31st Regiment 3rd Battalion for which he was honored with combat ribbons and several medals for his leadership. As with most Veterans who have been in combat, Jim didn’t like to talk about his time in the service. The only thing he would say is, “I won’t eat rice.” Jim was a quiet man, but that was fine because Arlene could talk for them both.
While he was serving his country, Arlene lived with her mother and continued to work hard. She was a woman who set goals and delighted in their accomplishments. For example, Arlene was proud that she was able to save enough money while Jim was away to buy an entire bedroom suit from a local furniture store with her earnings. Arlene and Jim were married for 69 years and 74 days; the bedroom suit that Arlene bought was the one they used until the day they could no longer live at home.
Jim and Arlene had two sons: James Daniel, born in 1953, and Gary Wayne in 1956. Jim’s work with the telephone company dictated where their family would reside. They had homes in Mountain Grove, Cabool, Mount Vernon, Mountain Grove again from 1960 until the late 1970s, and West Plains. Jim’s roles at the telephone company evolved from lineman to office manager. After 42 years of dedicated service he retired. He and Arlene then moved back to Mtn. Grove to be close to their sons and grandchildren.
Arlene worked hard to serve her community as a secretary at both the First Christian Church and Mtn. Grove Schools superintendent’s office. She took her role as mother and wife very seriously and made sure that Jim could come home to a clean house, clean laundry, a good meal, and two little boys who were happy to see their dad walk through that door every evening.
Arlene was fiercely loyal to her family and friends. She developed many skills and had several hobbies throughout her life. She loved canning vegetables from their garden, took pride in growing beautiful irises, roses and azaleas and, of course, made the most gorgeous quilts. She also loved to golf at the Randel-Hinkle Municipal Golf Course in Mtn. Grove, but nothing compared to her love for playing cards; Hand and Foot was her game of choice.
Jim’s favorite pastime was fishing with his buddies and did so every chance he could get. He also grew huge vegetable gardens, worked in his workshop making fishing lures and doing other workshop tasks to enhance their home. He golfed with Arlene and friends, and would lend her a hand in any capacity even if that meant sitting all day at the kitchen table and playing cards with whomever would agree to play. Suffice it to say, they were a great team.
Jim and Arlene were members of First Christian Church of Mountain Grove where they were active participants in the church’s events, activities, and projects. They were delighted to see the congregation grow and cherished the evolution of the church’s youth coming up in the congregation, knowing they would someday be its leaders and represent the church’s work both locally and its missions abroad.
The grandchildren were their pride and joy. Two children were born to James and his wife Lee Ann: Alexandra Lee and Christopher James. Gary and Suzy also had two children: Jonathan Shane and Ross Wayne.
James Elmer Roark and Arlene Mae Willey Roark lived a long and happy life together. They loved each other deeply and always had time for their family.
Arlene was born January 29, 1933, in Orleans, Nebraska, and passed away September 14, 2019 at Autumn Oaks Caring Center in Mountain Grove, Missouri. She was preceded in death by her father and her mother, Vera Willey, and is survived by her siblings, Wilma Duey, Doris Popejoy, Donald Willey, and Dorma Immekus and their beloved families.
Jim was born April 5, 1927, in Iberia, Missouri, and passed away September 12, 2019 at Autumn Oaks Caring Center in Mountain Grove, Missouri. He was preceded in death by his parents, Rosco and Etta (Bailey) Roark; his siblings, Mae Wall, Anna Maude Smith, Gracie Flaughear, Finnis Roark, Archie Roark, and Bobby Roark; and many nieces and nephews.
Jim and Arlene are survived by their sons and their families, James and Lee Ann Roark of Springfield, Missouri, Gary and Suzy Roark of Mountain Grove Grove, Missouri, Alex Roark and Bryan Manning of Los Angeles, California, Shane and Shai Roark of Vanzant, Missouri, Christopher and Kathleen Roark of Springfield, Missouri, and Ross Roark of Rogersville, Missouri; and great-grandchildren, Elsie, Gentry, and Coen Roark of Vanzant, Missouri.
Visitation was held Wednesday, September 18, 2019, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. at First Christian Church, Mountain Grove. Funeral services followed at 11:00 a.m., also at the church, with Brother Justin DeVries and Brother Jack Holland officiating. Song selections were “Sweet Beulah Land” and “Another Soldier’s Coming Home.” James Roark, Gary Roark, Shane Roark, Christopher Roark, Ross Roark, and Ron Yokum served as pallbearers. Burial with full military honors for Jim, provided by the United States Army and American Legion Post #30, was held in Hillcrest Cemetery under the direction of Craig-Hurtt Funeral Home, Mountain Grove. Memorial contributions may be made to First Christian Church Youth Group, Mountain Grove Alumni Park, or Mountain Grove Alumni Association in care of the funeral home.