Dale Alvin Roller

Dale Alvin Roller
Dale Alvin Roller

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.



9 Replies to “Dale Alvin Roller”

  1. Prayers for family and friends.
    Dr Roller was such an important part of my life going up in the First Christian Church and then Amarillo College.
    Thank you again Dr Roller !

  2. Our sincerest sympathy to Dale’s family. We were in Dale’s Happy Timers choir and lived at The Continental with him his last three years, singing with him in the Joyful Noise choir. We remember him as a very talented, kind, gentleman with a wonderful sense of humor.

  3. Many, many wonderful memories of Dale and the family. He was one of the kindest and endearing souls, especially being under his direction in the Amarillo College Choir. He wanted to know what each student was thinking and how we could be musically stronger. He challenged me to listen and helped me mature as a musician.
    Both of us appreciate his warm acceptance and genuine concern whenever seeing him and Betty ‘out and about’ during their retired years.

    Blessings to All,
    Sara and Danny Burke

  4. What a wonderful legacy for music in Amarillo and for me personally. Thank you to Dale Roller for giving me a love of choir as director at St. Paul United Methodist and thank you to Betty Roller for her patience and dedication in teaching me how to play a cello at Ridgecrest. Thank you to Scott and Jeff for being my friends all the way through school here in Amarillo. My love and blessings to all of you. Ronetta (Thomas) Mills

  5. A dear friend to both of our families almost our whole lives, Dale, was a wonderful influence and inspiration to my husband, Clay, and to me. From suggesting a solo for 6 year old Clay, while singing “In the Garden” for a worship service with his family, to Dale’s strong suggestion for me to “just major in music” at Amarillo College since I was “taking all music classes anyway” he caringly and creatively lead us into experiences and studies that have shaped our careers and our lives. Without Dale’s guidance we likely would never have met to begin our marriage of now 28 years.
    We will miss him and be forever grateful for his advice, love and encouragement.

  6. I got to play for that Amarillo College music program honoring Dale a couple of years ago. What a privilege and an honor. He also wrote a very nice article about the Amarillo Youth Choirs a few years ago, and was always happy to see me and so full of wonder and grace. A great person in every way who lived life to the fullest.

  7. Dale and Betty were both wonderful friends and inspiring teachers and leaders. together they made such an impact on our community–and on me! They will be missed

    Pat Hill Cathcart Dison

  8. What a legacy this man has left us. Not only his love of music but also his love of God. I am forever grateful for Dr. Roller’s influence on my life. Kirk and family know this- It Is Well with his soul. I pray it is with yours as well.

  9. Our hearts break for the Roller family! Dr. Roller has inspired many, many lives through his gift of music. He has certainly inspired and made an impact on our family!

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