Roland Block Played Host to Millions through the New York State Park System
Roland A. Block of Great Valley died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family on January 10, 2010.
Roland was born in Great Valley, NY in 1919 to the late Ernest and Annabelle Block. Roland is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Marjorie (Carpenter) Block, his three children Dr. Robert Block (Lora) of Bennington, VT, Connie Ball ( Rob) of Lakewood, NY and Jill Bahret (Jeff) of Springville, NY; also surviving Roland are his 7 grandchildren Alexandra Block, Jessa Barnard, Kimberly McCarthy, Nathan Ball, Andrew Ball, Dr. Brandon Bahret, Jorielle Bahret, and his 3 great-grandchildren Madalyn Ball, Audrey Ball, and Hayden McCarthy. Roland Block was also the brother of Dorothy Hinxman, Betty Parisi, and the late Arlene Church. Roland dedicated his life of 90 years to serving his family, country, and community.
Roland received his commission as a Navy Ensign upon graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, as a Civil Engineer in 1941. He served at Lakehurst, New Jersey during World War II and at Norfolk, Virginia during the Korean War, assigned to the construction Naval Battalion (Seabees). Roland retired from the Navy with the rank of Commander.
Roland’s life work was dedicated to the New York State Park System. He started in park service at Allegheny State Park in 1950, after establishing the engineering firm Pratt and Block, now E&M Engineers in Springville, NY.
In 1957 he relocated to the Taconic State Park Commission, in the Hudson Valley, remaining for 15 years as senior engineer, assistant director and regional administrator. He returned to the Allegheny State Park and Recreation Region in 1972 as regional administrator. In 1976 Roland received the L.L. Huttleston Executive Award for outstanding service to the New York State Park System. He retired from park service in 1979. Upon his retirement, he was recognized for serving as a “Host to Millions” throughout his career.
Roland was an avid outdoorsman, loving to spend time skiing, hunting, fishing and gardening and tried to pass that love to youth by serving in Boy Scouting for many years, in all the locations he lived. He was presented with the highest honor in scouting, the Silver Beaver Award for his dedication.
Roland genuinely cared about others and was compelled to be of service to his community. He was a Rotary member for over 60 years, receiving the Paul Harris Award for outstanding service. He was also a member of Gideon International, various other service organizations, and was an active member of many public service committees throughout the years.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, May 29, 20101 at 3 P.M. in the Holiday Valley Resort Club House Chalet in Ellicottville, New York. The family requests that gifts in Roland’s memory be given to a charity of choice.
The O'Rourke & O'Rourke Inc. Funeral Home, 25 River Street, Salamanca, New York is in charge of funeral arrangements
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