Earnest G. Roll, Jr., 81, of Xenia, Ohio, passed away in the presence of his family at his home in Xenia on Friday, February 5, 2021, following a remarkably defiant, 17-year battle with multiple myeloma.
Earnest was born in Greenfield, Ohio, on May 15, 1939 to Earnest and Lulu (Greenlee) Roll. He grew up on a farm in Buckskin Township, Ross County, but attended school in Greenfield, graduating from Edward Lee McClain Class of 1957.
He is survived by his six children: Tammy (Dr. Richard) Byers of Xenia, Gilbert (Jenny) Roll of Wilmington, Debbie Kessler of Frankfort, Sherry Hiser of Greenfield, Teresa Roll of Chicago, and Mark (Stephanie Frisbey) Roll of Athens, and their mother Nancy Roberts of Xenia. Grandchildren: Brock (James Mick) Roll, Dr. William Brian (Dr. Elena) Beam, Brandon Roll, Halee Beam, Kayla Roll, and Maura Roll, as well as seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son-in-law James Hiser.
Earnest, along with his family, owned and operated Roll Family Farms in Ross County, a pure-bred swine enterprise renowned for producing high-performing Hampshire and Landrace breeding stock and champion show pigs. He was also the principal owner of Agri Services, a feed mill in Austin, where he specialized in livestock nutrition and enjoyed customizing feed formulations for 4-H and FFA livestock projects. He, subsequently, was a life-long supporter of 4-H and FFA programs for which he had received numerous honors, including the Friend of 4-H Award and an FFA American Farmer degree.
In 1977, Earnest was awarded the Ohio Pork Industry Excellence award for his outstanding contributions. Some of his achievements leading to this honor included earning an animal science degree from The Ohio State University and a place on their livestock judging team. He was a founding member and the first president of the Ohio Pork Producer’s Council (1968). He was also a prominent member of the Ohio Hampshire Association and the Ohio Landrace Association.
Earnest was involved in the Greenfield Jaycee’s, where he served as a president and a chairperson on the committee to purchase the community armory. He was also a member of the Young Farmers and the Farm Bureau.
Earnest had an appreciation for land conversation, nature, and wildlife, and, despite his illness, was able to travel and see grand sites. In the last three years of his life, he was immersed in many celebrations and vacations with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He took numerous cross-country trips: to Rochester, MN; to Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands where he saw the grand statue of Crazy Horse and marveled in seeing buffalo herds and an abundance of wildlife. He vacationed in the Poconos and saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. And, while there, he indulged in a huge bucket of seafood at the Crab Shack on the oceanside. Earnest loved his food and savored fine dining as he always opted for a nice pork chop or scallops.
Nothing slowed Earnest down because family set up Dialysis at every vacation spot. He occasionally went to the farm and supervised family as they put out gardens and tinkered with equipment. He appreciated the support and caregiving of his family as he had a strong will to live and his healthcare team rallied non-stop to give him many precious fun-filled opportunities.
In his last weeks, his daughters were very blessed and comforted to have their mother Nancy, a 24/7 caregiver to him since December 2017, prepare his favorite dishes that he would only eat for her. Also, in his last days his family played his favorite music from the Grand Old Opry and the WRFD farm channel for him. He was also entertained as he watched the many birds and acrobatic squirrels that congregated at his bird feeders.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the family will have a private funeral service at the EBRIGHT FUNERAL HOME, Frankfort on Monday, officiated by Pastor Joe Current. The public is welcome to pay their respects at a public graveside service in Good Hope Cemetery, on Monday, February 8, 2021 at 2:30pm. The family asks that facial coverings and social distancing be observed. Friends and family may leave memories of Earnest on his online register.
Special thanks to Dr. Richard Byers, Dr. Mark Collins and Jill Reese and their oncology team, Fresenius Dialysis (Wilmington), and Dr. Surmeet Bedi.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the Ross County 4-H Endowment to fund youth development. Attention: Ross County 4-H Endowment, Katie Feldhues, 475 Western Ave, Suite F, Chillicothe, OH 45601.