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OBITUARY: Philip Henry Roach – 1 June, 1965 – 2 May, 2023

Ed. Note: We pass on our condolences to Mattea Roach and their family on the passing of their father, Philip Henry Roach.

We have covered Mattea’s long journey on Jeopardy. As Nova Scotians tune in to tonight’s taped episode of Jeopardy Masters, our thoughts are with the Roach family.

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Philip Henry Roach, 57, who died of a brain aneurysm at his home in Halifax on May 2, 2023.

Born in New Waterford on June 1, 1965, Phil was the youngest child of Thomas Francis Roach (1925-2001) and Andrea Patricia ‘Pat’ Roach, (née MacDonald, 1924-2015). He attended Mt. Carmel School and Breton Education Centre, where he was a dedicated band member, perennial science fair entrant, and player in the first ever Coal Bowl. Many of the friendships he formed in his school days lasted a lifetime.

Phil attended St. Francis Xavier beginning in 1983, where he was a dedicated student of his friends’ record collections and a less dedicated student of his coursework. He left St. FX for Toronto in 1984, where he further developed his loves of new wave and post punk, fine cooking and dining, and Queen Street fashion.

Arguably the best decision Phil ever made was to return to Cape Breton and begin working at the Keltic Lodge in Ingonish. There, he met Patti MacKinnon, the love of his life. Patti and Phil had their first date on Valentine’s Day 1987, and were married on September 9, 1989 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Ingonish. They moved to Halifax a few months before their wedding, and with Patti’s support, Phil made a second, more successful attempt at postsecondary education. He graduated from Saint Mary’s University in 1993 with a degree in business and made a career in human resources thereafter.

Phil’s four children were the greatest joy of his life, and he endeavored to pass all his wisdom and enthusiasm for living down to them, through long lectures about local history, Trivial Pursuit beatdowns, and instruction in music and movies from before their time. His efforts were mostly successful. Phil could be relied upon to boast about all his children equally, regardless of the scale or scope of their accomplishments. He was the proudest dad around and made this abundantly clear to anyone who would listen.

Phil was known to his family and friends for his warmth and kindness, which he displayed in equal measure to those he’d known for decades and those he’d just met. He was an especially generous host, and spent many hours in his kitchen over the years preparing elaborate multi-course meals that he would inevitably proclaim were “just okay.” He was always wrong about this – they were delicious.

Phil was also an avid cyclist. He will be deeply missed by his cycling community especially the Coffee Outside Halifax crew and the Randonneurs of Nova Scotia.

Along with his parents, Phil was predeceased by sister-in-law June Roach (née Samways) and nieces Caitlyn Roach and Sarah Mather. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Patti MacKinnon; his children, Mattea, Eamon, Cullen, and Lachlan; and his beloved dog, Ila. He is also survived by siblings Kathleen (John McKay,) Greg (Nancy), and Tom (Amy Bennet), mother- and father-in-law Patsy and Rollie MacKinnon, and brothers-in-law Perry (Marilyn) and Howard (Kathy), as well as many nieces and nephews to whom Phil was the favorite uncle.

Arrangements have been entrusted to J. A. Snow Funeral Home, 339 Lacewood Drive, Halifax. A memorial service will be held on Friday, May 12 at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, 1055 Marginal Road, commencing at 10:30am. Donations in Phil’s honor can be directed to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

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