David H. Roche, retired Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative president and chief executive, died Dec. 18 at home unexpectedly in Harbor Springs, Mich. He was 70.
Stone Funeral Home at Petoskey, Mich., said Roche was being honored in a private family service with a celebration of life to be held in coming weeks. Memorials are preferred to Harbor Springs Historical Society, 349 E. Main St., Harbor Springs, Mich., 49740 or Little Traverse Conservancy, 3264 Powell Rd., Harbor Springs, Mich., 49740. Condolences and memories can be shared online at www.stonefuneralhomeinc.com
Roche held a bachelor's degree from Saginaw Valley State College and an MBA from Michigan State University. His father was vice president of sales for Michigan Sugar Co.
Roche started his sugar industry career as comptroller for Michigan Sugar Company in 1976, going to Savannah Foods in 1996.
Roche went to Minn-Dak in Wahpeton, N.D., in 2001 and retired in August 2013. The farmer-owned co-op is owned by about 500 shareholders and had about $300 million in annual revenue, selling sugar, pulp and molasses through United Sugars Corp. and Midwest Agri-Commodities Co. While at Minn-Dak they lived at Fergus Falls, Minn.
Patricia Keough-Wilson, a communication executive with Minn-Dak, said Roche was a "great boss. He encouraged, inspired, and held one accountable. ... He loved being a family man. Knowing him was a blessing in my life."
Roche married his high school sweetheart Rae Ann Fierstien in 1970, and they were married 47 years. The couple had three children and four grandchildren.
Roche had many business and civic leadership posts. He was a golfer, Lake Michigan sailer, kayaker and often spoke about his football interest as a "long-suffering Lions fan."
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January 2, 2018 at 12:05PM