Cover photo for Francis "Bud" Roller's Obituary

Francis "Bud" Roller

January 29, 1936 — February 13, 2024

Francis "Bud" Roller

Francis Marion "Bud" Roller was born on a farm 1 mile west and 4 ½ miles north of Phillipsburg, KS. Almost immediately He was given the nickname Buddy or Bud by his paternal grandfather that would stay with him for life. He attended school in Phillipsburg, and, after graduating from high school, he and a friend went to enlist for their mandatory military service. They had originally planned to enlist in the Air force but decided at the last minute to join the Marines instead. It almost didn't happen, as His friend, J.C.Lloyd, was an inch too tall and Bud was an inch too short. The recruiting officer solved the problem by averaging their height and cutting an inch from J.C. and adding one to Buds on their applications. 

He was fond of saying "5 minutes after he hit boot camp he was reconsidering his life choices." Bud was too late to serve in the Korean conflict but too early to be sent to Vietnam. After basic training, he attended radio tech school at Treasure Island near San Francisco. He was then deployed in the California desert near 29 Palms. His term of enlistment was mostly uneventful aside from a tense two day ready alert during the Suez Canal Crisis, He never actually saw action. In fact, the only time he left the country was a day leave trip to Tijuana, Mexico. There was an interesting incident where he was allowed to drive an armored personnel carrier and wound up drag racing some tanks. 

In later years, Bud would often say he "wasn't really a marine; he was just pretending to be one out in the California desert." One thing he did get out of the Marines was an addiction to strong black coffee. As he liked it so strong, that in later years the ladies at church would warn a new pastor to never, ever, under any circumstances, let Bud make the coffee for church. 

After leaving the Marines, he then came home and attended college at Kansas State University. While there he roomed with his brother-in-law Larry and was studying electrical engineering. That is until one day when he decided to change his major to Secondary Education of Math. Bud became a certified math teacher who only needed one class to be certified to also teach English. His first teaching position was in Frankfort Kansas and that was to prove Influential on his future. 

At the high school where he taught he met a couple named Betty and Tom Stitt. They were fellow teachers and would invite him over for a home cooked dinner. There he met Betty's younger sister Helen Teten. They seemed to have a mutual interest in each other and Bud asked Betty for permission to date her younger sister. Later, on a trip to visit Bud's father Raymond, they were standing over a floor furnace talking. It wasn't really a conversation, as Helen was talking a mile a minute telling a story with Bud mostly listening. At one point, Bud interrupted with the question "Will you marry me?" Helen kept on talking then suddenly stopped and asked "Do you know what you just asked me?" Bud said "Yes," So she said "Yes, I will" and immediately returned to her story. 

After a year of dating they were married with both of them having one of their sisters as their witness. The newlyweds moved to the Kansas City area a couple years later when Bud accepted a teaching position at Hocker Grove Junior High. During the first three years of their marriage Bud worked on his masters degree at Emporia State. 

A new chapter in their lives began when after 3 years and many miscarriages, they welcomed the birth of a baby boy, Raymond Richard (later Malcolm McCord). The summer after Malcolm was born they lived briefly in Emporia, KS, for a summer while Bud finished his masters degree. They then moved to Wichita, KS where Bud took a job with Boeing aircraft as a life cycle cost/design to cost analyst/statistician. After several more miscarriages, Bud and Helen were told by their doctor that it was unlikely Helen would carry another baby to term. But miracles do happen. 5 years after Malcolm was born Helen was surprised to find out that some health issues she was having were caused by the fact she was pregnant, 3 months pregnant to be exact and in 1971, they welcomed daughter Frances Jean to the family. Franci, as she was called, would go on to give Bud and Helen two grandsons, Maxwell and Duncan. Naturally, Bud and Helen, known as Grumpy and Grammy, did their best to spoil them. 

Bud continued to work for Boeing until his retirement in the early nineties. During that time he was active in their church, first at Broadway Christian Church, then Mt Olive Christian church, through a merger of churches back again at Broadway which finally became New Hope Christian Church. He was assistant Pack Leader for Malcolm's Cub Scout Troop. Bud did beautiful tooled leather work, and taught himself how to make the most delicious smoked meats on the grill. His beef and pork loins done on his smoker grill were a favorite of family and friends for years. In later years, he would begin to cook with an instant pot/air fryer to make fantastic smothered pork chops and duplicate Helen's chicken and noodles. Baking is something he would take up, with breads and scones being the main things he baked, while he would often help his son bake sugar cookies using his Grandmother's family recipe. 

In the fall of 1996, shortly after he retired, Bud would suffer the fist of several heart attacks. During his stay in the hospital, Malcolm and Franci, who inherited his sense of humor, gave him two beanie babies. Franci gave him a walrus to remind him of the line from Lewis Carroll's The Walrus and the Carpenter: "The time has come," the Walrus said,  "To talk of many things:" 

Malcolm looked for a Wile E. Coyote doll, to remind his father he was NOT a cartoon character, but settled on a vulture he placed above his father looking down at Bud in his hospital bed. When the nurses commented that his children were "strange and weird," Bud said "Of course, they're my kids with my sense of humor." 

Bud would undergo double bypass surgery in 1998, and later have a third mild heart attack in 2016. He would comment that "God doesn't play baseball, since he (Bud) had three strikes. Instead, God was a fisherman, who kept throwing him back because he was too short." 

In 2007, Helen developed a neuroma that put pressure on her spinal cord and at one point left her paralyzed from the neck down. She would recover about 85% of normal function, but she still needed lots of assistance. Bud became her primary home health care provider with son Malcolm as a backup. However, despite her recovery and progress, Bud was to lose Helen in 2014. 

Bud and Helen enjoyed over 50 years of marriage. When asked how they managed to make their marriage last so long, both were known to reply "We can't get divorced cause we can't decide who has to take the children." 

A year after Helen's death, Bud would once again become a home health care provider when his son Malcolm was diagnosed with early Stage 4 Cancer. Bud would help Malcolm through the radiation and chemo treatments as well as surgery to remove the tumor. He would joke with Malcolm's home health care nurse, as he learned to help change the dressing and assist Malcolm, that he should be getting nurses pay for his efforts! 

On February 7th 2024, just days after falling and suffering a broken rib, Bud had a heart attack due to a blood clot just below the double bypass. He was well and in good spirits, but in the early hours on February 12th his breathing became labored, requiring him to be given oxygen and a ventilator, He became nonresponsive and never regained consciousness before dying early in the morning of the 13th. 

He is survived by his son Malcolm McCord, his daughter and son-in-law Franci and Aaron Henderson, and two grandsons Maxwell and Duncan. He is also survived by his sisters Verda Gillock and Rita Bowman (Rod) and numerous nephews and nieces.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Francis "Bud" Roller, please visit our flower store.

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Saturday, February 24, 2024

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