John Howard Roe, Jr. ’69

John Howard Roe, Jr., aged 77, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on February 6, 2024, after a brief but valiant battle with pancreatic cancer. John was born on December 29, 1946, in Springfield, Tennessee, to John Howard Roe, Sr. and Lillian C. Roe. John grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee, graduating from Clarksville High School before attending Davidson College for his undergraduate studies. He attended Vanderbilt Law School, graduating first in his class as Founder’s Medalist in 1972.

John began his legal career in Atlanta, Georgia, and then moved to Nashville in 1974 to be closer to his hometown of Clarksville, Tennessee. In 1981, he and his colleague and friend Tom Sherrard opened the law offices of O’Hare, Sherrard & Roe, now Sherrard, Roe, Voight & Harbison, an esteemed law firm of more than 40 attorneys today. Known for his strong work ethic, his razor-sharp memory, and his expert legal acumen, John was dedicated to providing his clients not only the best legal advice, but to offering his clients a holistic approach to their business needs and goals. Over his 50-year legal career, John developed an expertise in real estate and tax law, co-authoring the Tennessee Condominium Act of 2008, but more importantly, he developed lifelong relationships and friendships with his clients and colleagues that he valued deeply.

John was committed to the organizations in which he was involved, the people for whom he cared, and the communities in which he lived. As an elementary school student, he became involved with the Boy Scouts of America, rising to the rank of Eagle Scout. He spent his summers at Camp Boxwell, where he developed lifelong friends with whom he continued to gather year after year. He remained involved in the Nashville chapter of the Boy Scouts until his passing, and is to be honored for his lifelong service to the Boy Scouts in April, 2024. In partnership with one of his best friends from high school, Jerry Clark, John purchased the abandoned 100-year-old building in which his high school was housed, and restored it into an apartment building, saving the historic structure from demolition. He also helped found the Wade Bourne Nature Center at Rotary Park in Clarksville. He was a long-time supporter of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville, serving as Board Chair in 2005.

Learning to sail as a Boy Scout, John sailed during his free time throughout his life and kept his own sailboat on Percy Priest Lake until his passing. He loved the outdoors, and enjoyed backpacking, canoeing, and fishing trips with his family. A life-long student of history and an adventurer, he enjoyed traveling to places all over the world. But perhaps his favorite pastime was spending time at Moosehead, his home in Monteagle, where he enjoyed hiking, swimming, and sitting on the deck with his wife, children, and grandchildren, and friends.

John will be remembered for many wonderful qualities, but his family and friends will remember him best as someone who was intensely loyal, devoted, and generous to those he loved. John’s friends were friends for life, and he would do anything for someone he considered a close friend. He valued his family dearly, cherishing his relationships with his immediate and extended family members. He was beloved by his children, his stepchildren, his nieces and nephews, grandchildren, sister, and his wife Jane, all of whom gathered by his side in his final days to support him in his transition.

John is survived by his wife of 20 years, Jane Buchi Roe, his children Lillian (Nate) Gilmer, John (Alicia) Roe, and Alan (Tatiana) Roe; his grandchildren Emi, Lila, and Hannah Gilmer, Tasman and Amelia Brinton-Roe, and Matthew and Naomi Roe; and his sister, Lynne Wilson. He is preceded in death by his wife of 34 years, Emily Hunt Roe, his father, John Howard Roe, Sr., and his mother, Lillian C. Roe. Through his marriage to Jane, he was blessed with three additional children, Marla (Topper) Doehring, Hunter (Katty) Connelly, Will (Lauren) Connelly, and eight additional grandchildren, who survive him as well.

Services will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Saturday, February 10. Visitation will be held at 2:30 p.m. with a Celebration of Life Service to be held at 4:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Cancer Society, or Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville.