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Obituary: Roehm, John George

Age 88

ROEHM, John George October 12, 1924- November 10, 2012 They called him “the quintessential craftsman” He will be remembered as a master craftsman with the biggest, strongest hands… and the ability to hang a door with precision, engineer a complex staircase or construct a beautiful home with the finest details executed to perfection. He will be remembered as an elegant gentleman, who at the end of the day, could shed his white coveralls and don a cashmere sweater, impeccably pressed slacks and share a beer or sip a cocktail with people of every walk of life, finding common interests and conversation with all. He will certainly be remembered for his honesty, integrity, and unparalleled dedication to his craft. But his truest legacy was as a mentor to many in the building trades and as a loyal friend to children and adults with whom he forged lifelong relationships. John’s heritage in the field of finished carpentry dates to German ancestry as early as 1791. He was born the third of four boys, in St. Louis, Missouri to Michael Roehm and Martha Schniepp Roehm. During WWII, John served in the United States Navy as a Seabee in the 91st Battalion. Following duty in the South Pacific, he wed Isabelle Marie Zemala of Chicago, Illinois, and in 1956, the couple gave birth to their only daughter, Robyn Ann. He was a partner in Roehm Brothers, Inc. with brothers Ernest, Alfred and Frederick. The foursome built fine homes for the carriage trade of St. Louis. On April 18, 1961, the American Institute of Architects, St. Louis Chapter, honored each for “Superior Craftsmanship as a Carpenter.” In 1971, John relocated his family to Spokane, where he built a home overlooking the Spokane River. Over the next three decades, he built many of Spokane’s finest residences, collaborating with and earning the respect of numerous Northwest architects and endearing himself to those who began as clients and became lasting friends. On December 13, 1997, at the age of 73, he earned his second AIA award for “Outstanding Achievement in the Building Profession”, bestowed by the Spokane Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for the first time since 1954. John lived a remarkable life and was blessed with robust health until a diagnosis of lung cancer in June 2012. He died in his home at the age of 88 on November 10 at 3:07 pm, surrounded by those who loved him. He is survived by his daughter Robyn Roehm Cannon and son-in-law Don Cannon of Seattle, Washington, brothers Alfred and Frederick of St. Louis, Missouri and seven nieces and nephews living in St. Louis, Chicago and Tacoma. In grateful acknowledgement and in lieu of floral remembrances, his family requests memorial contributions in John’s name are made to Hospice of Spokane, 121 South Arthur Street, Spokane, WA 99202, (509) 456-0438. On Saturday, December 1, 2012, beginning at 11:00AM, a service and reception in John’s memory will be held at the Spokane Country Club, 2010 West Waikiki Road, Spokane, WA 99218.


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