Douglas P. Roller passed peacefully from this earth April 11, 2019 with loved ones at his side and his favorite songs filling the air. He had battled COPD for years with the same grit, determination and courage that served him so well as a criminal and civil litigator for the last 50 years. Doug is survived and dearly loved by his wife of 34 years, Jennifer (Tynes); son Matthew Roller (Tracey Tarkowski), daughter Caitie Wiedner (Luke); from his previous marriage to Joyce Roller (nee McGuire), son Scott Roller (Amy), daughter Susan Roller Marin, son Shawn Roller; nine grandchildren; and dear brother Robert Roller (Suzanne). He was 74 years old.
Doug was born in 1944 in Elgin, Illinois to Robert and Marjorie Roller. He graduated from Valparaiso University in 1966 and he found his calling, his passion in law school. He was editor-in-chief of the law review and graduated second in his class from Valparaiso University School of Law, JD in 1968.
In 1969 Doug began his career with the United States Department of Justice, assigned to the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. In 1978 he was named Attorney-in-Charge of the Chicago Strike Force. During his tenure he led the investigation and prosecution of the case of United States v. Roy Williams, which resulted in the conviction of the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and four others for conspiracy to bribe a United States Senator. The trial lasted five weeks, all defendants guilty on all counts. The case made headlines in Chicago and across the country. It also earned him the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award. It was a proud time in his career and he never tired of sharing stories about the Teamsters trial.
He left the Department in 1984 and served with several law firms and his own private practice over the years in Chicago and St. Louis. He was most recently a Panel Attorney for the Federal Defender Program here in St. Louis. He loved being in the courtroom, where he felt comfortable and confident, where he tried to make a difference. He appeared in federal court on a case the week before he passed. Even as his health was slowing him down, and he was finally nearing full retirement, he wanted to finish each case. Every client was important. Practicing law was who he was, it made him feel alive.
He was a devoted and loving father and grandfather, loving husband and brother. He had a winning smile, a joyful laugh and a big heart beneath a sometimes gruff exterior. The only thing he loved as much as his family and the law was sailing, and he never got to do enough of that. We will all miss him so very much.
The family wishes to say a special thank you to Dr. Anthony Shen, Dr. Benjamin Voss and all the nurses, doctors and staff in the 4th floor ICU at Missouri Baptist Hospital in St. Louis. We are forever grateful for your dedication and loving care of Douglas Roller. God bless you all!
A celebration of his life is being planned for a future date.