David Roen '77 February 9, 2017 12:55 PM updated: February 9, 2017 12:59 PM
(Published in) Lewiston (ID) Tribune (on) February 7, 2017
David Thorstad Roen, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. David T. Roen, cherished husband, father, grandfather, dear friend, beloved veterinarian, musician, singer, artist, writer, dancer, golfer and avid student of life, died Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. He was a true renaissance man.
Dr. Roen was born Dec. 3, 1942, in Rice Lake, Wis., to Ethel Thorstad and Edward Roen. He was the oldest of five children, including Bart, Mary, Margie and Roger. He grew up in Rice Lake, Wis.; New Cumberland, Pa.; Washington, D.C.; Battle Creek, Mich.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Kaiserslautern, Germany; and El Paso, Texas. He graduated from Irvin High School in El Paso in 1960 and Texas Western College (now the University of Texas at El Paso) in 1966 with a bachelor of science in mathematics. He was a cowboy, ranch hand and bull rider for a time, and in 1966 he joined the U.S. Air Force and served for six years as a navigator/electronic warfare officer and flew F-105s over North Vietnam as an electronic warfare officer.
Dr. Roen married Patricia Barron on May 5, 1970, and they would spend the next 46 years laughing and dancing. Their son David was born in 1970 and daughter Jennifer was born in 1972. He left the service to return to school and graduated with honors from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in 1977. That same year, Dr. Roen and Pat loaded all of their belongings, both kids, dog Snap and cat Buttercup in a U-Haul and a Chevy Nova and drove from El Paso to Clarkston.
In 1978, Dr. Roen opened the Clarkston Veterinary Clinic, where he lovingly cared for family pets large and small for more than 30 years. He left an indelible mark on countless lives with his kindness, warmth and humor. In 1979, Dr. Roen began writing and illustrating a weekly column for the Jawbone Flats Gazette, and in 1982 the column first ran in the Lewiston Tribune, where it was published for more than 30 years. In 2007, Dr. Roen sold his veterinary practice and in retirement dedicated his time to music, art and mastering the game of golf.
Dr. Roen had more hobbies and interests than free time and believed that anything worth doing was worth doing well. He played the guitar and other instruments, including electric bass, stand-up bass, banjo, fiddle, harmonica and piano. He sang and recorded his own music solo and later in duets. He wrote a newspaper column, several short stories and an autobiography for his grandchildren. He began drawing as a child and never stopped. He painted and filled hundreds of sketchbooks. Later in life, he took up golf and spent hours studying the game. Post retirement, he studied calculus and physics just for fun. He greatly enjoyed socializing and spending time with friends; he was a talented storyteller, and his sense of humor is legendary. It takes a special person to make an entire group erupt into a fit of laughter; he was such a person. And he was, by his own admission, simply amazing. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
Dr. Roen is survived by his wife of 46 years, Patricia Roen; brother Roger (Judith); son David and his wife Mercedes; daughter Jennifer and her husband Edward; grandchildren Sam, Katherine, Ben and Teddy Roen, and Jackson and Elsa Petersen; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws and friends who feel like family.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, 1115 13th St., Clarkston, followed by a celebration of life at the Quality Inn, Mahogany Ballroom, 700 Port Drive, Clarkston, immediately after the service. All are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lewis-Clark Animal Shelter or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.