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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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ROCHE, Art. (Detroit, MI, June 27, 1948-- ). Beginning in 1969, Roche worked at MERCY HEALTH CENTER, becoming Director of Planning in 1985 with responsibilities including facility planning, strategic planning and market research. In addition, he co-founded and served as president (1982-1984) of the Asbury Citizens Association, a community improvement organization. In 1976, he co-founded Project Access Dubuque which advocated and listed handicapped-accessible architectural features of Dubuque buildings.

Roche served on the board of directors of the Dubuque County Association for Mental Health (1972 to 1976 and vice-president in 1976), Heartland Housing Initiative (1992-- ), and the Dubuque Area Lifetime Center (1995-- ). In 1984 he served as the promotion director of Heritage Trail, Inc. and was the vice-president of promotion beginning in 1985. He was a member of Land of Festivals, Inc. (1989 to 1993 and president from 1990 to 1992) and advisory board member of the Iowa Trails Council (1991 to 1992).

In 1997 Roche read of a request for volunteers by Mercy International Health Services. Once accepted, he flew to Bethlehem, Israel to conduct a financial feasibility study for a group interested in reopening a hospital in the city. Based in part on his report, the investors chose to move ahead with the project in January, 1998. (1) In 2010, Roche was president of the board of directors of OPENING DOORS. In 2017 he served as the Director of Planning for MERCY MEDICAL CENTER and was president of the Dubuque Fine Arts Players. (2)

In 2018 Roche helped start the Marshall Islands Health Project which became part of the Dubuque Pacific Islander Health Project, a department of the CRESCENT COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER. (3)

His efforts on behalf of others have been widely recognized. In 1976, Roche was the recipient of the Dubuque County Association for Mental Health Distinguished Service Award. He received the Handicapped Person, Inc. Distinguished Service Award in 1977. In 2018 Divine Word College honored him with the 2019 Matthew 25 Award, which was presented at a prayer service and banquet on Wednesday, March, 20. The award honors those who help the poor and marginalized. (4)

In 2020 Roche received an Advocacy Award for community health care from the CRESCENT COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER. (5)



1. Gwiasda, Susan B. "Dubuquer Volunteers Hospital-ity," Telegraph Herald, December 1, 1997, p. 3A. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19971201&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. Fine Arts Society, Online: http://dcfas.org/about/dcfas-board/

3. Tempus, Alexandra, "Paradise Reclaimed," The Progressive, April 1, 2018, Online: https://progressive.org/magazine/paradise-reclaimed-tempus/

4. "Alum Recognized with Matthew 25 Award," Divine Word College, Online: https://www.dwci.edu/about-dwc/latest-news/alumn-recognized-matthew-25-award?fbclid=IwAR0ifhHr9ZqLiY60a3e5F-pyzsa4C54fQZPcCrx8AHP4VGg6lWFjiYm5Y1w

5. "Crescent Recognizes 4 for Impact on Community Health Care," Telegraph Herald, August 10, 2020, p. 1C