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John Roach


    The work presented here is to honor a unique couple and their contributions to bettering the lives of the people around them. They did this in their respective professions as school teacher and athletic coach, and as a hospital nurse and county public health nurse. When they got involved with square dancing in 1949 they continued this contribution, as it seemed that this was a natural part of what they were. Although the following material will seem to concentrate on John, or Jack as he was commonly known (the two will be used interchangeably), Mabel and Jack always worked as a team contributing to the effort in the areas best suited to them. Their talents, fortunately, were not overlapping so they worked together in a totally compatible way.
     The opening material gives a rough sketch of Jack's early and professional life. It was in the course of conducting this life that Jack discovered square dancing in 1949. I’m sure neither one of them had any idea at the time how this was going to change their lives and the lives of the thousands who came in contact with them over the next thirty-five years.
     The material about their square dance life has come from artifacts and records as well as my recollections and understandings, having grown up with it as a child. My comments about events outside of the home or local area may not be entirely accurate as they are the observations of a child, but they are my observations and impressions. Whenever I know I’m on thin ice I’ve attempted to back them up with some documentation just so that I’m comfortable with myself. During their trailer years of 1972-1980 I was living in Minneapolis and they were 2,000 miles away in Florida so to write about it I had to use Mabel’s account books to reconstruct a calendar of their activity.
     Over the course of his square dance career Jack wrote many round dances. Some of these dances were published in the 1970s and 80s as Round of the Month, but most were not. The others he used with his own groups or passed on to other leaders for their use. Thirty-four of his round dances are published here for use by callers and leaders. These dances were fun for dancers when they were first used and will be today. They are probably easy or intermediate level by today’s standard. There are also audio clips of Jack’s calling over the years and his round dance cueing.

Lonnie Roach- son