He had a laugh that filled whatever room he was in. And a heart a thousand times bigger. He was larger than life, on stage and off.
The Dallas/Fort Worth theater community is in collective shock and reeling from the untimely death on Saturday of one of its most universally loved family members. Charles Ryan Roach, 44, of Euless, talented actor, passionate activist and consummate friend, passed away peacefully around 6:20 p.m. at Plaza Medical Center in Fort Worth, surrounded by his family and closest friends after suffering a massive stroke on Friday night.
In our age of technology and instant communication, once information was shared of Ryans serious condition, Facebook began to fill with thoughts and reactions, and later, cherished memories. The tributes are heartfelt and emotional, just like Ryan.
As an actor, Ryan performed on most of the Metroplexs stages: Theatre 3, WaterTower Theatre, Uptown Players, Stage West, Theatre Arlington, Casa Mañana and in a national tour for Dallas Childrens Theater, among others. He was scheduled to start rehearsals for Stage Wests Thank You, Jeeves this week. Ryan and his best friend since college, Chris Robinson, performed Greater Tuna in Pensacola, Fla., before delighting home audiences with it and its sequels A Tuna Christmas and Red, White and Tuna. He was the perfect Bertha Bumiller and Aunt Pearl. He spent a month one summer in Oxford studying acting. His comedic timing was impeccable. His dedication to his craft inspiring.
Offstage, Ryan loved Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Olympics. He was an avid reader and moviegoer. He was smart and compassionate and strong in his convictions. If Ryan chose a cause or position to support, he was all in. He was kind and loving, quick-witted and had an insatiable sense of humor that matched his hearty laugh.
To say that Ryan Roach will be missed is hardly adequate. When Ryan came to see a show you were doing, his was the first laugh you heard, and his big, loving bear hug was the last thing you left the theater with after the show. Losing him is one of those rare voids that cannot be filled, only eventually accepted while he lives on in the hearts of those who love him.
Charles Ryan Roach is survived by parents Rudy and Sarah Roach of Ringgold, Texas; sister, Shay Roach of Irving; grandmother Louise Price of Denton; and scores of friends in the theater community.
A viewing will be held Tuesday, July 30, 2013, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Deberry Funeral Home at 2025 W. University Drive, Denton. The funeral will be at that location at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 31. The theater community is welcome to attend.
There will also be a special memorial service to celebrate his life at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Boulevard, Dallas.
You can donate to help Ryans family with expenses here, and there are plans for a special Mamas Party on Aug. 26 to help his family with expenses. Details to come. There is also a tribute group on Facebook, here.
Please share your memories and stories of Ryan here in the comments below, or on the comments section at TheaterJones.com.
Obituary in the Denton Record-Chronicle.