Jan. 27, 2020 - James M. Roach, a 1982 University of Houston Law Center graduate and senior tax counsel at ExxonMobil passed away on Jan. 16 at the age of 61.
During a nearly 38-year career with ExxonMobil, Roach worked in a variety of domestic and international assignments, including in London, Oslo, Riyadh and Singapore. He last worked as the finance director of ExxonMobil Mozambique Limitada in Maputo, Mozambique. He was also vice president of the U.S. International Fiscal Association for the Houston Region.
Roach was a longtime supporter of the Law Center, including serving as director of the Houston Law Foundation Board and sponsoring the Jim Roach Scholarship for Excellence. He was the Dean's Award winner in 2016, the first corporate attorney to win the accolade. In 2019, he was the recipient of the Law Fund Volunteer Award.
Roach was the first member of the Law Center's Cornerstone Club, a group of alumni leaders who fulfilled a commitment of $250,000 or more toward the first phase of the Law Center’s building campaign. He gave a second major gift in 2019 to help the campaign reach its $10 million dollar funding goal.
“I’ve really loved being a lawyer,” Roach said in a 2019 interview. “I can’t describe how much enthusiasm I’ve had for it, and I hope I can generate similar enthusiasm in lawyers just starting their careers.”
"Jim was very full of life, an accomplished attorney, and a devoted husband and father," Dean Leonard M. Baynes said. "I remember the first time he met me, he gave me his UHLC lapel pin to wear. He was a very devoted UHLC alumni, who through the power of his personality and convictions, helped us raise the initial $10 million for a new Law Center Building. He was an exemplar for many others to follow."
Roach is survived by mother Betty, wife Carol, brother John, sisters Marilyn, Marrianne and Maureen, son Christopher and his partner Andrea, daughter Chelsea and son-in-law Andrew and grandchildren Annasophia and Isabella.
A service will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday Jan. 28 at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 109 North Frazier St., in Conroe. The University of Houston will honor Roach the same day with a flag at half-staff at the Athletics/Alumni Center, with a special proclamation in his honor.