Joseph Charles LaRocco, 67, of Salem, passed away on Sunday, January 17, 2021. He was
born in Schenectady, New York, on October 28, 1953. He grew up in Roanoke and participated
in the Boy Scouts and proudly attained the honor of Eagle Scout. He remained active with the
scouts his entire life.
Joe graduated from Andrew Lewis High School in 1972 and Roanoke College in 1976. He
always had a strong passion for running and ran competitively in high school and college with
the track and cross country teams. He was inducted into the Roanoke College Athletic Hall of
Fame in 1998. His involvement with the local running community and officiating local, state, and
national track and cross country meets continued until his passing and brought him great joy
and many loyal friends.
Joe began his teaching and coaching career in 1978 at Bassett High School in Henry County. In
1980, he moved on to teach and coach at Cave Spring High School and he remained a proud
Knight beyond his retirement in 2013. He was a celebrated coach, teacher, and friend to many.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Jim and Jennie LaRocco, his brother Jeff LaRocco,
and his nephew, Hal Wilkins. He is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Terry; two daughters
and sons-in-law, Jackie and John Downs, Cathy LaRocco and Jeff Black; granddaughter, Brigid
Downs; brothers, Jim LaRocco and wife, Sharon and John LaRocco; sisters-in-law, Gerry Smith
and husband, Gary and Mary Frances Wilkins and husband, Russell; nieces and nephews, Ty
LaRocco, Meleah LaRocco Lowe, Jennifer Castelvecchi, Ashley Smith Rosser, James Wilkins,
Bray Wilkins, Mikayla Rosser, Sean Rosser, Emmett Wilkins, Maya Wilkins, Anna Wilkins, and
Nellie Lowe. Joe is also survived by his best walking and running companion, Ruthie.
A Mass of the Resurrection will be held at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, 631 North Jefferson
Street, Roanoke, VA 24016, on Wednesday, January 27th at 12 noon. Due to the pandemic,
seating in the church is very limited; however, the mass will be live streamed at
https://www.standrewsva.org/. Burial will be private.
A celebration of Joe’s life will be scheduled for a later date due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In lieu of flowers, Joe’s family requests that a donation to one of these entities be considered in
Joe’s honor: Roanoke College Track & Field/Cross Country, the Blue Ridge Council of the Boy
Scouts of America, or Cave Spring High School Track & Field/Cross Country (make checks
payable to “Knights Booster Club” and write track and field in the memo).
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