Robert D. Roll, “Bob”, 87 years old, died July 15, 2016, in the compassionate and excellent care of Burke Hospice and Palliative Care following a period of months in declining health. Until very recently he had been living in Greensboro, NC since July of 1977. He was born on December 21, 1928 and reared in Greenville, OH, the only child of J. C. and Pauline (Poling) Roll. A 1946 graduate of Greenville High School, he furthered his education by several years of study at the Dayton Art Institute before beginning his career as a commercial artist and photographer. For many years he operated his advertising business, Graphic Studios, in Greenville, OH.
While engaged in his business, Mr. Roll had a notably successful amateur golf career. His lifelong interest in golf was sparked when his father, Jake Roll, donated some of the farm land adjacent to his home on Hwy 571, joining with others who were interested in developing what became White Springs Golf Course. Bob took advantage of the proximity of White Springs to hone his golf skills, soon becoming a formidable contender in the local and regional golf contests. Bob won his first of 11 city tournaments when he was 17 years old. The next year he won his first of nearly 20 club championships at Greenville Country Club, White Springs Golf Course, and Forest Oaks Country Club. Most memorably, he was a finalist in 1954 of the Ohio Amateur Golf Tournament losing the state title to Arnold Palmer. He was further honored with invitations to play exhibition rounds with famous golf figures Lee Kirkwood, Dutch Harrison, and Arnold Palmer with Joe Campbell. Bob’s tournament wins over the next years were too numerous to list, but his final achievement before moving to North Carolina was to win the Ohio Pre-Seniors State Championship in 1974.
His most recent golf feats were to “beat his age” over 150 times in the last few years and to be featured in May 2016 in GolfWeek Magazine’s annual “Local Legends” issue. Bob was placed on that issue’s cover seated at his drafting table in front of the many famous golfers’ portraits that he had painted and combined into montages. Bob was given many talents and whatever task he put his capable hands to, he pursued with complete focus, intelligence, imagination, and perseverance. Perfection was his goal and standard, but it was leavened my modesty, with, and a well-developed sense of humor.
He was predeceased in 2000 by his life-long love and beloved wife of 50 years, Shirley Wood Roll, both of the Greenville High School class of 1946, having met in elementary school. Additionally, he was predeceased by his parents, Jake and Polly Roll, Shirley’s parents, Alfred Middlebrook Wood and Maude Clark Wood, Shirley’s brothers, James A. Wood of Kettering, OH and Donald Wood of Okinawa, Japan, and first cousin, Judy Sluterbeck Shahan of New York state. He is survived by his daughter, Rebecca Roll Phifer, son-in-law, Edward W. Phifer, III and grandson Justin McLear of Morganton, NC. Also surviving, nephew David Wood and his wife family, many Roll and Poling first cousins and their families, too numerous to list, but no less dear to his heart. He was especially grateful to cousins Linda Wolford Snider and husband Larry and Family of Greenville; Jan Sluterbeck Rust, Troy; and Darlene Poling Brewsaugh and Don and family, Greensburg, Indiana, who gave care, company, and love to his mother in her later years.
A graveside service is planned at Abbottsville Cemetery in Darke County, OH on Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 1:00 p.m conduct by Pastor Angela Meeks.
The family humbly requests that any memorials of Mr. Roll be made to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, a501(c)(3) nonprofit, 1721 Enon Road, Valdese, NC 28690, in lieu of flowers, in recognition of their care which was so very professionally and lovingly given.
Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center in Morganton, NC and Zechar Bailey Funeral Home in Greenville, OH are assisting the family with the arrangements.
Condolences for the family may be sent to www.zecharbailey.com