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Samuel J. Roye

April 1, 1933 — March 1, 2024

Samuel J. Roye

On Friday, March 1st, Samuel James Roye (our Papaw) was relieved from the pain of this world and reunited with the love of his life as he passed away peacefully surrounded by his family. Our hearts were broken that day, but as much as he loved all of us, we know that his heart was finally healed after losing his best friend. There wasn’t a day that had passed in the year and four days he walked this Earth without Mamaw that he didn’t long to be reunited with the one who made his heart complete. He will be missed so much by so many, but we can be comforted to know that his faith has been made sight. He was welcomed into his eternal home by the loving arms of his Lord and Savior, his beloved bride of 69 years, and a host of other family members.

Samuel James Roye was born to Louis Gilmer Roye and Mable Lucille Sudduth on April 1,1933 on their family farm in Pontotoc, Mississippi. He always shared fond memories of that dogtrot house in the Pleasant Grove Community where he spent countless hours with his granddad and two uncles working the land, tending to the livestock and gardens, and learning to build and fix just about anything you could imagine.

Sam graduated from Pontotoc High School in 1952, the same year that his soon-to-be bride graduated from Baldwyn High School. After graduating, Bobbye was working as a switchboard operator for South Central Bell in Tupelo, and she caught the eye of Sam. Before he even knew her, he told his cousin, Talmage, that he was going to marry her. He asked Sarah, his cousin, to set him up on a date with her. As fate would have it, they began dating shortly after his request.

After answering the call to serve his country, Sam left for San Diego, CA on March 7, 1953 to begin basic training for the United States Navy. During basic training, he knew he didn’t want to live any more time apart from his devoted sweetheart. So, when he was on leave after basic, he asked Bobbye Jean Heavner to marry him. He was first stationed on the USS PCS 1444 (Submarine Chaser). He came back home to Pontotoc, MS to marry the love of his life on November 7, 1953, and they moved to an apartment in Santa Barbara, California where he resumed his station on the Submarine Chaser.

In April 1954, Sam’s ship was decommissioned, and they again moved to Navy Housing in Vallejo, CA on Mare Island Naval Base. In June of 1954, Sam had to leave his lovely bride for several months again to go to engineman school in San Diego, CA at the Naval Training Center.

After completion, Sam was transferred to Long Beach, CA where he was assigned to a mine-sweeper, USS Reaper MSO-467. During this time, Sam and Bobbye welcomed son, Jim. They were stationed at a Navy Base there in Long Beach. After about a month of sea trials, he was deployed to Korea for 11 months.

While deployed, Sam was an engineman on the ship. His job was to maintain and operate the diesel engines and refrigeration including main engines and generators. One of his most notable stories was a rescue effort he took part in during the war. An American plane had been shot down by China over the straits going into Hong Kong. Sam’s ship was one of six minesweepers sent in to retrieve the plane from the water and rescue any survivors.

After 4 years in the US Navy and a deployment to Korea, he decided to take his family back east. Sam had diesel training, but there weren’t many jobs working on diesel engines at the time. In March of 1957, he was told about an opportunity at Dalrymple Equipment Company working on diesel engines in Amory. He was hired on the spot when he came to inquire about the job. With faith, Sam moved his family to Amory with little knowledge of the area and lots of hope that this opportunity would be a great start to life outside the military for his family.

They became a family of four in August of 1957 when their second son, Timothy Louis Roye was born. In October 1957, Sam’s dad died of a massive heart attack. Being a wonderful son and family man, Sam moved his family back home to Pontotoc to take care of his mother. Once back in Pontotoc, he worked as an automobile mechanic at the Ford place and took care of the family farm. He helped his mom sell the log cabin grocery store and the grist mill that his dad had run. He added running water to their family home and attained help to take care of his mom and drive her around.

In 1958, they moved back to Amory where he went back to work for Scribner Equipment Company (formerly Dalrymple). In 1959, he and Bobbye bought their own home on Tschudi Road where they would live for the remainder of their lives. During this time they would add their third child and only daughter, Barbara Ann Roye, to their family and became faithful charter members of Meadowood Baptist Church.

In 1969, Sam was blessed to have earned the job as Service Manager at Sam Stevens Motors in Amory. During this time, he assisted the company in creating their own service shop. Not long after getting the service department started, he began the process of establishing a parts department for the dealership to save the company both time and money. He spent ten years devoted to building the business and establishing a knowledgeable team of mechanics to take care of their customers.

In 1979, customers from Itawamba Junior College came to shop at the Pants Store in Amory where Bobbye worked. While assisting them with their purchases, Bobbye began visiting as she always would. In their discussion, they shared that they were looking to begin a diesel mechanics program at IJC. Bobbye took the opportunity to advocate for the best diesel mechanic she knew in town. Before they knew it, IJC offered Sam a wonderful opportunity to start yet another new career. He went into an empty building and planned everything from shop design and needed equipment to the actual curriculum he would need to teach the students.

In 1987 IJC began the process of rebranding itself and providing more opportunities for students to earn Associate’s degrees (not just certifications). As the transition to Itawamba Community College began, Sam, along with 15 other vocational instructors, faced another life challenge. The vocational teachers were told they must earn an associate’s degree in order to continue as instructors within their programs. Although it seemed like a very difficult task, Sam chose to further his education to continue in this career field. He had invested a lot of time and energy in the program and truly enjoyed his time teaching the next generation of Diesel Mechanics. Before he could even begin taking his classes, he had to learn more about using a computer which became the biggest initial challenge. Then, he began taking classes on the computer after teaching all day. He, along with the others and a little help from his grandchildren, slowly began working towards his two-year degree plan. He proudly earned his Associate’s Degree in General Studies in the mid-90s after several years of taking night classes.

In 1999, Sam chose to retire from ICC after 20 years. No doubt, he was surely missed among the instructors and program founders. But, he would spend the next years of his life continuing to follow around grandchildren and find more projects than he could possibly complete in one lifetime.

Sam became a frequent breakfast customer at Country Boy’s Hamburgers before Bobbye had retired. After her retirement, they both became proud breakfast club members there. The pandemic changed their lives and interactions in many ways. But cooking breakfast at home was not on their retirement agenda. So, Sam drove them through the drive-thru at Jack’s in Amory almost every single morning. Papaw always liked to tell the story of how after a few weeks, he would drive up and they wouldn’t even ask for his order. Instead, they would say, “Come on around, Mr. Sam,” as soon as they saw it was their car. They became special to Jacks and the Jacks crew became special to them. After MaMaw’s passing, Papaw again spent time eating at Country Boy’s and was often joined by one of his children. He thoroughly enjoyed the conversations and fellowship with the breakfast club and his family as often as possible. Jack’s remained on his menu as well, but he more often visited it outside of breakfast time in the last year. Who knew that this established routine of breakfast and fellowship would be one of the most important things that gave our Papaw comfort when living with a broken heart?

As noted by the accomplishments in his life, Sam Roye was no stranger to hard work. He would rather be doing something productive than sitting idle at any given time. When not working, he was often found watching one of his grandchildren play ball, working on a vehicle for a family member or friend, or spending time with family doing the things he loved. He instilled a love for the outdoors in all of his family through countless camping and boating trips. He knew exactly how to get others to pitch in and help! He was known to have scheduled a trip for the exact time that the huge garden he had planted was needing to be harvested. Even more notable was his tendency to invite everyone to go out on the boat, but insist that it be cleaned first once people began to arrive at his house. Yes, he liked to see those around him put in a little effort too. It was his way of ensuring everyone saw the value in working hands.

Sam Roye, our Papaw (actually everyone’s Papaw), was one-of-a-kind. He loved the Lord and was a spiritual leader among not only his household but his entire family. He loved hard and with his whole heart. You always knew how much you meant to him through his words, acts of service, and presence in your life no matter what the occasion. His family meant the world to him. His grandaughter, Amanda, shared, “One of my favorite memories of him was when I wanted some Adirondack chairs. I asked him if he thought he could build me one. He said that he never had even seen them, but he would look for some plans and see what he could do. Within 2 days, he called me and said he had some plans and asked if I liked them. Within a week, he made them for me with his very own hands.” After making the chairs for Amanda, he decided he had to build two for the other grandchildren as well. And this type of thing happened all the time! He showed his love over and over again through selfless service and using his God-given gifts!

He lived his entire life with a servant’s heart and hands. He was a man of many talents, and there was absolutely nothing he couldn't fix or repair. The repair might have included Duck tape, but one could bet it was going to work. He truly was a jack of all trades AND a master at most! As we celebrate his life and say farewell today, we pray that he is remembered as a faithful brother in Christ, a loving father, an exceptional grandfather, and a loyal friend.

He is survived by his sons, James Allen (Jim) Roye (Kathy) and Timothy Louis (Tim) Roye (Debbie); and his daughter, Barbara Roye Witcher (Mitch); and daughter-in-law, Carolyn Roye. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Josh Roye (Jenny), Kristen Roye Satterfield (Blake), Amanda Roye, Alan Roye (Susie), Mitch Witcher (Emily). He is also survived by great-grandchildren: Abby, Eli, and Mary-Ann Roye; Brea Satterfield; Taylor and Landyn Gunnells; Mitchell and Samantha Witcher. He also leaves behind sister-in-laws: Sarah Heavner, Jean Heavner, and Opal Gilmore as well as many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Bobbye Jean Roye. He was also preceded by his parents and sister, Francis Atkins.

The family would like to thank Urgent Care of Amory, Gilmore Memorial ICU, and Dr. Gerald Parker for their exceptional care and service. The family would also like to thank Country Boys and Jack’s of Amory for the years of love they have poured into every prepared meal, greeting, and conversation. You truly made a huge difference in the life of our Papaw.

Papaw fought the good fight. He finished the race. He kept the faith. And like his bride, he has been made whole again to live for eternity with his Lord and Savior.

His Celebration of Life Service with Military Honors will be held on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 at 11:00 am at E. E. Pickle Funeral Home in Amory, MS with Bro. Hal Bates officiating. Burial will follow in Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Pontotoc, MS with Pallbearers being Joshua Roye, Alan Roye, Blake Saterfield, Mitchel Whitcher, Patrick Gallip, David Best, Howard Brannon, and Larry Goudelock.

Visitation for family and friends will be held at E. E. Pickle Funeral Home on Tuesday evening, from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm.

Memorials may be made to Pleasant Grove Cemetery in Pontotoc, MS or to Meadowood Baptist Church, Amory, MS.

Memories and condolences may be shared with his family at
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Past Services


Tuesday, March 5, 2024

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

E. E. Pickle Funeral Home, Amory

500 3rd Avenue South, Amory, MS 38821

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life Service

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

E. E. Pickle Funeral Home, Amory

500 3rd Avenue South, Amory, MS 38821

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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