On Saturday, February, 16, 2019 our Mother, Sister, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Great-Great-Grandmother, Sylvia Dean Roark, earned her angel wings and is dancing and singing with God and the angels after a long, hard-fought battle with Alzheimer’s, at the age of 86. Sylvia was born July 10, 1932 to Mabel Severt Smith and David Commodore Smith. She is pre-deceased by her parents, her husband of 39 years, Jessie Calvin Roark, a son, Paul Daniel Roark (at the age of 3), her sisters, Pinkie, Bly, and Elsie, and brother Ray. She is survived by two daughters, Kathy Roark Atkinson (Jerry) of Raleigh, Kay Roark Faircloth (Randy) of West Jefferson, and four sons, George Roark (Mae) of Millers Creek, Ronnie Roark (Marianne Filka) of Jonesboro, TN, Ricky Roark (Judy) of Jefferson, and Richard Roark of Raleigh. Also surviving is one sister, Sadie Lyalls of West Jefferson, and two brothers, Rev. Ralph Smith of Smethport and Rev. Roy Smith of Freeland, MD. She was blessed with 10 grand-children – Greg Roark, Sammy Surber, Angela Reins, Tabitha Lovell, Maranda Dickey, Amanda Pritchard, Amy Miller, Kim Mizic, Grant Stephens and Holly Stephens, and 21 great grand-children, and 4 great, great grand-children.
Sylvia worked 33 1/2 years for United Chemi-Con (formerly Sprague Electric) in Warrensville before retiring in 1994. After retirement she became active in a number of organizations and senior care. She served on the Board of Trustees and Advisory Counsel of the Legal Aid/Legal Services of The Blue Ridge in Boone, and volunteered for Project Graduation, Foster Grandparent program, American Heart Association Heart Walk and Blood Drive, and American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. She was a member of Friendship Baptist Church for over 40 years, where serving God was her passion in life. There she was active in Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Church Nursery, Women’s Group, served on the church building committee, and sang in the church choir, as well as Ashe County Community Choir. She was a volunteer at the Ashe Services for the Aging and Senior Center in Ashe County and an avid participant in the Blue Ridge Senior Games and NC State Senior Games, having earned over 48 gold medals, 58 silver medals, and 25 bronze medals at both during her years of participating. Additionally, she served as an Ambassador to the State Senior Games for the Blue Ridge. You could often find her walking several miles a day, staying active in exercise and cardio up to the point where Alzheimer’s started taking control and robbed her of her freedom and capacity to serve, volunteer and be active. While battling Alzheimer’s, she became a survivor of colon cancer, bouts of pneumonia, and recently, melanoma. Always a fighter with a tight grip on your hand and a strong heart to the end, she earned the affectionate moniker of “our Eveready Battery” to the point of her home-going.
Her family relocated her to Raleigh for a brief stint in 2010 due to the Alzheimer’s, where she was a resident at Brighton Gardens and subsequently Morningside in their Senior and Memory Care facilities, before moving her back to Ashe County in 2012 as a resident at Ashe Assisted Living Memory Care and subsequently Margate Health due to mobility and health deterioration, where she passed away after an 11 year battle with this terrible disease.
A celebration of life and home-going service will be held Friday, February 22, 2019 at 1:00PM, with burial to follow in the Friendship Baptist Church Cemetery next to her beloved Jess and son Paul. Visitation will be Thursday, February 21, 2019 from 6-8pm at Boone Family Funeral Home. Flowers will be accepted but donations in honor of Sylvia Roark are appreciated to the following: Alzheimer’s Association by visiting www.alz.org/northcarolina and click on DONATE, click on the box for “Yes, this is a tribute gift”, select “in memory of” gift type, and enter Sylvia Roark as the Honoree; or you may select “Other Ways to Contribute” and select Tribute Page, search for Sylvia Roark and a Tribute Page that has been set up for donations in her memory will display for you to donate; mail-in donations in memory of Sylvia Roark may be made to: Alzheimer’s Association, Hickory-Foothills Office, 228 2nd St, Hickory, NC 28601. Donations can also be made to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life at https://secure.acsevents.org/Donate.
The family wishes to thank all the memory care facilities staff, Margate Health staff, and Angel Calhoun with Wake Forest Care at Home Hospice for their care and support throughout.