Roark, John

ROARK, Rev. Dr. John Hauser

The Rev. Dr. John Hauser Roark was promoted to the Church Triumphant on April 11, 2024, after a lengthy illness. Dr. Roark was born on November 5, 1938 in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Earl Woodliff Roark and Ethel Hauser Roark. He was a graduate of Southwest Dekalb High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Georgia in 1960. He earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1964 and a Doctor of Ministry degree in 1985, both from Columbia Theological Seminary.

While at the University of Georgia he met Margaret "Peggy" Head. They were married in 1962 until her death in 2017. He was also preceded in death by his sister, Alice Roark. He is survived by his daughter, Margaret Roark McAskill; son, Scott Roark (Amy); grandchildren, George, David and Will McAskill, and John (Ashley) and Mary Grace Roark; and his brother, Robert Earl Roark; and numerous family members and treasured friends.

He was gifted in music from an early age, becoming a church organist at Ousley United Methodist Church at age 14. While a student at UGA, he served as organist and choir director at First Baptist Church of Athens, GA. He studied organ under Hugh Hodgson at UGA, for whom the music department is named. He also played French horn in the Redcoat Marching Band. He won first place in a national American Guild of Organists competition at age 19 and then studied under renowned organist Flor Peeters at the Conservatorium in Antwerp, Belgium. Throughout his life, he shared his musical talents both professionally and personally, as a guest organist at many churches and piano accompanist for various choirs and organizations, including renowned British composer John Rutter.

He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament in 1964 and served Courtland Presbyterian Church in Courtland, Alabama, First Presbyterian Church of Athens, Georgia, Covenant Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, Virginia, Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and Buford Presbyterian Church in Sugar Hill, Georgia. Following his retirement in 2008, he served as the Associate Organist at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia and also was a frequent guest organist at Peachtree Christian Church in Atlanta, Georgia and Dunwoody United Methodist Church in Dunwoody, Georgia.

His ministry gifts were centered on preaching and teaching, and he was known for his lively Bible studies and related etymology. His preaching was shaped by his treasured mentor, Dr. Fred Craddock. His doctoral dissertation focused primarily on the study of grief, enabling him to conduct meaningful grief seminars. He was also a fabulous pastor and cared greatly for his church family. He and his wife, Peggy were known for hosting their entire congregations in their home at annual Christmas open houses and other joyous gatherings. Many times, he would entertain guests by playing the piano and taking requests. While he was trained in classical and sacred music, he also played many types of music by ear, and people loved to be entertained by him.

John Roark loved people and never met a stranger. He made friends easily and kept up with people throughout his life. He and his wife were always there to help people in need and lived out the Biblical mandate to "love your neighbor as yourself." While church and family were the center of his life, he also grew beautiful roses and hydrangeas, built furniture, and was a poetry and opera enthusiast. For more than 20 years, he owned a vacation home in beautiful Montreat, North Carolina, for which he was very grateful.

For the last five and a half years, he was a well-loved resident of Towne Club Windermere in Cumming, Georgia. During his time there he entertained the residents weekly at the piano and also conducted grief seminars and Bible studies. No matter what his stage of life, he found a way to serve others through his music and pastoral leadership.

His family would like to thank the staff at Towne Club Windermere and Gentiva Hospice for their wonderful care of him.

A memorial service will be held at Buford Presbyterian Church, 1242 Buford Highway, Sugar Hill, Georgia, on Saturday, June 1, 2024 at 11 AM with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be sent to Buford Presbyterian Church.

To express condolences, please sign our online guest book at Arrangements By: Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory, Buford, GA, (770) 932-1133.

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Funeral Home Information

Flanigan Funeral Home

4400 South Lee Street

Buford, GA