Dr. Dale Alvin Roller, 90, of Amarillo, Texas, went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on August 24, 2020, after a period of declining health.
He was born on February 1, 1930, in Cleveland, Oklahoma to Sylvester and Hattie Belle Roller, as the youngest of five sons.
Dale grew up in Cleveland and, inspired by a special high school music teacher and two of his older brothers, chose to pursue music, earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Tulsa. He served during the Korean War as a Sargent in the 657th Air Force Band. He first taught piano at the University of Tulsa until one of his brothers, Dr. A. Clyde Roller, at the time conductor of the Amarillo Symphony, suggested he apply for a position at Amarillo College. He got the job and moved to Amarillo in 1956. Clyde went on to introduce Dale to a pretty young violist in the orchestra, Betty Jo Denman. There must have been an instant spark, as Betty and Dale married September 7, 1957, in Amarillo. Dale continued to study, primarily in summer sessions, while they were raising their three boys, and he received his Doctorate in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1974.
During his 35 years at Amarillo College, where he taught piano, directed the choirs, taught music history and humanities, Dale founded the Amarillo Master Chorale in 1985, the Amarillo Youth Choir in 1989 and eventually served as head of the department, being credited with many innovations, such as bringing the Suzuki String Program to the college. Upon retirement, Dale was elected to the Amarillo College Board of Regents, where he served for eight years, the last year as Chairman of the Board. In 2005 he was named professor emeritus. Dale also directed the choral programs at various churches in Amarillo, with the longest tenure being at First Christian Church, where he served for 22 years. Dale and Betty both occupied various positions in Amarillo, including on the board of the Greater Southwest Music Festival. They also served as the Executive Secretaries for Music, UIL Region I, for approximately thirty years.
Even in retirement, Dale continued to share his passion for music by founding the ecumenical vocal ensemble for seniors, “The Happy Timers” in 2012, which he led through 2019. Dale Roller leaves behind a rich legacy of love, family, music, education, and social service.
Dale is survived by: their eldest son, Scott Roller of Stuttgart, Germany, (with his children Sean Roller, his wife Theresa and their daughter Marlene; Megan Roller with her son Janosch and Timothy Roller), their middle son, Kirk Roller (with his wife, Anne and their children Beth Roller, her husband Josh Smothers and Blake Roller), and their youngest son Jeff Roller (his wife, Carol as well as their children, Josh Roller, his fiancé Maddie Jones and Jenna Roller).
Services will be held on September 5th at Pinnacle Community Church at 2 pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to: The Dale and Betty Roller Scholarship Fund at Amarillo College or to a charity of your choice.