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Judge Hugh William Roark

1929 -2024


ELIZABETHTOWN, Kentucky - Judge Hugh William Roark, 94, of Elizabethtown, died peacefully Monday, May 13, 2024, at home among family.

He was born October 26, 1929, near Bolivar, Tenn., and grew up and attended school in McKenzie, Tenn.

Hugh earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee Law School in 1951. Later that year, he joined the US Marine Corps and was assigned the rank of Lieutenant. In 1952, Hugh was admitted to the Tenn. Supreme Court, allowing him a license to practice law. While in the Marines, he was assigned to the West Coast Naval Legal offices in San Francisco and later Hawaii until 1959, rising to the rank of captain. Hugh left the Marines and returned to work for State Farm Insurance until 1975.

In 1975, Hugh began serving as Assistant Commonwealth Attorney as a circuit court prosecutor. In 1982 Hugh was elected as District Court Judge. In 1986, the Circuit Court Judge position became open, and Hugh was appointed to the position by Gov. Martha Lane Collins. He served multiple terms as Circuit Court Judge until he retired in January 2000. Hugh enjoyed music, jigsaw puzzles, ice cream, farming, and genealogy research, tracing his ancestry for centuries.

Judge Roark was preceded in death by his mother, Mildred White Roark of McKenzie, Tenn.; his father, Walter Lee Roark, Sr. of Red Oak, Texas; siblings, Walter Lee Roark, Jr., Martha Roark Stoker, and Lou Ellen Roark Sexton. Hugh was also preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Janis Roark of Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

Survivors include sons, Walter Roark (Kelly Ballard Roark) of Elizabethtown and Daniel Close (Joyce Fourman Close) of Lebanon, Ohio; five grandchildren, Nathan Roark (Nic Ellison) of Huntsville, Ala., Sarah Roark (Morgan Musselwhite) of Tampa, Florida, Matthew (Patricia) Close of West Chester, Ohio, Adam Close of Lebanon, Ohio, Christopher (Kaitlin) Close of Miamisburg, Ohio; two great-grandchildren, Hunter and Aiden Close.

Visitation is 2 p.m. to  6 p.m. on Sunday, May 19 at Brown Funeral Home in Elizabethtown. 

Funeral services are at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 20, at Brown Funeral Home.  He will be laid to rest in the family plot at Magnolia Cemetery in Magnolia, Kentucky.

Brown Funeral Home of Elizabethtown has charge of arrangements.