Roche matriarch dies
GENEVIEVE ROCHE with husband, Joseph.
Longtime Sonoma resident, physician and Roche Winery co-founder, Genevieve Roche, passed away at her family’s home Friday, Sept. 14, with her husband and children at her side. She was 72.
Roche, who was the only woman in her medical school graduating class of 1966, practiced medicine for 30 years as a pathologist in San Francisco, Napa, Petaluma and Sonoma. She and her physician husband, Joseph, moved to the Valley in 1977 to raise their family on their newly purchased cattle ranch in southern Sonoma. Following in the footsteps of her father, an Irish immigrant crop farmer, the Roches planted their first vineyard in 1982, just one year before their property was incorporated in the newly formed Carneros AVA. Seven years later, Genevieve and her husband opened Roche Winery, and today her children continue to run the family winery and farm.
Although her career was in medicine, her love of agriculture was revealed in one of her last questions to her family: “Have we started harvesting yet?”
While practicing medicine, Genevieve still remained active in the community. She served as PTA president of St. Francis Solano School, was involved in the formation of the Carneros Quality Alliance and was instrumental in petitioning the California Legislature to rename a portion of Highway 121 as “Carneros Highway.”
Genevieve was born in Oxnard, Calif., and received her medical degree from Creighton University in Nebraska. In addition to her husband and their four children, she is survived by three grandchildren and brother, Shane Donlon.
For information about funeral services, call Roche Winery at 935-7115.