‘He was just dearly loved by us all,’ Msgr. Robert Roh passes away
Rev. Msgr. Robert A. Roh, formerly of Falls City, passed away on March 14, 2022.
At the time of his retirement, while speaking with the Journal in an article titled ‘Honest to God,” published on June 30, 2015. Msgr. Roh reminisced about the relationships he had forged with Sacred Heart students, faculty and church parishioners since his arrival in 1988.
Msgr. Roh was preparing to vacate the Sts. Peter & Paul Rectory days after the 2014-2015 school year ended. Fifty years after his ordination and more than a quarter-century serving as Senior Pastor at Sts. Peter & Paul and Superintendent of Falls City Sacred Heart School, Father Roh, reflected on the community and people he grew to love and consider “home.”
“Honest to God, we have great people here,” he said. “This has been an amazing assignment for me. Everyone has been really good to me. It’s all truly been a gift.”
Msgr. Roh expressed how much he cared for the community and everyone who welcomed him with such warmth.
During his time in Falls City, he officiated over 100 marriages, hundreds more Baptisms and Funerals and taught hundreds more students religion and philosophy.
Robert (Bob) Roh was born on September 16, 1939, in Bruno, Nebraska but spent most of his youth in the village of Abie, Nebraska, on the family farm. Bob’s father, Leonard, first realized his eldest son was probably not cut out for farming the day he wrapped a four-wire barb wire fence in the rotary hoe, even before making it to the field!
While farm work was not his forte, he excelled in academics. Bob graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1957 and then attended Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He then attended the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., graduating with a B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy. He was then sent to Rome, where he attained a Licentiate Degree in Dogmatic Theology and was ordained a priest by Pope Paul VI on July 11, 1965. Later he completed graduate studies at Notre Dame University and then completed an additional M.A. degree in Educational Administration from Creighton University (1987).
If you were to enter his office in Falls City, you wouldn’t find his accolades written down or see certificates hanging on his walls, and you certainly wouldn’t hear him talk about them. However, if his students achieved a personal best, a state championship, or an academic achievement, prepare yourself to listen to a very loud and proud “father” brag about his kids! Catholic schools and Catholic education were his passion. He enjoyed all of it; banging of lockers closing, exhaust from the school bus, rainy day track meets, school lunches, bouncing basketballs, noisy halls before the bell, lecturing the seniors, clapping for the final volleyball point, award banquets, Kindergarten puppet shows, music concerts, troubleshooting computers, classroom presentations, the first and last day of school!
His school philosophy was that every student deserves to have the bar set a bit higher than she/he can reach, no matter what her/his innate ability. “To whom much is given, much will be asked.” Luke 12:35-48.
Monsignor had the pleasure of watching hundreds of high school seniors graduate, preparing couples for marriage, baptizing children (and then their children), bringing new members into the Church through RCIA classes, counseling parishioners, hearing confessions and celebrating Mass. It was not unusual for him to get home from a basketball game at 11:00 p.m. and receive a middle-of-the-night call from the hospital to give last rites to a parishioner, then rise to celebrate a 6:15 a.m. Mass and be back in class by 9:00 a.m. He had the passion of a jackhammer when it came to taking on a task. His motto seemed to be, If you’re going to do something, do it with joy and gusto! Whether it’s a $1.5 million parish expansion, cleaning fish or teaching religion (watch out for breaking chalk!). All of this “work,” however, wasn’t work to him; it was his parish, his family.
His community involvement extended beyond church and school. Monsignor was a board member for Blue Valley, a board member for the Nebraska State High School Athletic Association (over 30 years), assisted North Central Accreditation teams, was a Chamber of Commerce member and participated in Ministerial Association work. In his free time, he loved reading, writing, sports, cooking and fishing! How many fishing stories are there about Monsignor?!
While his peers and parishioners knew him this way, he was also a beloved member of the Roh clan. To his family, he was Bob, a wonderful son, brother, brother-in-law and uncle who was never too tired to take his nephews fishing and hunting. Family gatherings involved lots of people, much laughter, great wine, Czech food (poppy seed kolaches, dumplings and kraut), reminiscing, hunting stories and lots of noise! The place he held in his family, we really can’t explain; he was just dearly loved by us all.
It would be impossible to attempt to share how, throughout his life, he has been a guiding light to family, students, colleagues, faculty and parishioners. How can a life be “summed up,” maybe this quote by Pope John Paul II comes close, “Each person, in some way, is called to work for the common good, constantly looking out for the good of others as if it were his own.”
Monsignor Robert Roh Assignments – Diocese of Lincoln
1966-68 St. Joseph’s Parish and St. Joseph’s School, Beatrice, Ne. 1968-69 Chancery Office, Diocese of Lincoln 1969-71 St. Cecilia High School, Hastings, Ne. 1971-72 Graduate Studies University of Notre Dame, South Bend, In. 1972 Associate Pastor, Blessed Sacrament Church, Lincoln, Ne. 1972-88 Aquinas High School, David City, Ne. Religion and Coach 1975-88 Pastor, St. Peter’s Church Bellwood, Ne. 1988-2013 Pastor, Sts Peter & Paul Church Falls City, Ne. Superintendent Sacred Heart School
He is preceded in death by his parents, Leonard and Leona Roh, his sister Mary (Katheryn) Lee and sister-in-law Lori Roh.
He is survived by his brothers, Jim Roh and Jerry (Tammy) Roh and sister Carolyn Simodynes, nephews Greg (Marissa) Roh, Mark (Erin) Roh, Kyle Roh, Joe (Keira) Simodynes and niece Dianne Simodynes.
In lieu of flowers, plants and statues: The family has requested Memorials to: Falls City Sacred Heart School, St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Falls City, Aquinas Catholic Schools, David City or St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Abie.