Eugene Wendell Roach age: 68 born: 6/1/1933  died: 10/16/2001

Eugene Wendell Roach was born on June 1, 1933 and passed away on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 at age 68.  He was an Alabama State Checker Champion from Mobile and a resident of Theodore, Alabama. His obituary was posted in The Mobile Press-Register, The Huntsville Times, and The Birmingham News.  Eugene Roach is buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery, (251) 366-6759, which is located at Bayou La Batyer Road & Hwy 188 E in Bayou La Batyer, AL.  He served in the US Army during the Korea conflict.  He was the owner - operator of a country gas station, grocery, and convenient store all roll into one on Country Road 5 toward Theodore, Alabama in Southern Mobile County.  A sign hung over an outside checkerboard & table with two chairs at his store that challenged all comers to a game of checkers!  If you could beat Eugene at a game of checkers, you won a six pack of coke.  The store, call “Country Plaza,” on Bellingraph  Road about 6 miles south of Tillman’s Corner,  or 16 miles southwest of Mobile, Alabama. 

It was a typical country store with a big drive through flat shed roof that covered the front store entrance, providing cover from the weather while playing checkers, pumping gas, kerosene, or entering the store from your car.

Eugene was a master checker player with a personality which allowed him to be the featured story in many newspaper articles, TV news clips, reports, Good Morning America, Time Magazine, and a Spokesperson for Checkers Fastfood Restaurant chain in southern Alabama.  Known as “Double Trouble” from winning thousands of checker games from all comers like Alabama players across the state and many other states' checker player who heard about his unbeaten checker playing record and his challenge.  This was something a cocky self-confident accomplished checker player just couldn't pass up a chance to beat the best.  Eugene Roach was available for checkers when he wasn't tending store from 1970 to early 1990s.  His wife Laura,  son Billy, and daughter Celia all helped out at the store.  The below TV news video clips were uploaded to by Eugene's grandson, Adam Roach.

Tim Laverty told me this story which he is full of checker tales about what happen to him and others over the years that cause me to add Eugene to this page since I already had an old newspaper article.  As a college youth Tim was bitten by the checker bug... so severe it actually interfered with his studies.  Tim studied and played checkers relentlessly and got good at it.  He annihilated his classmates and discovered he could play blindfolded.  He would hear about and hunt down any checkerist with a gunfighter's zeal.  His eagerness to play Eugene took him to Mobile, Alabama who wasn't at the store when he call to let him know a new challenger was in town.  Tim finds the store and Eugene wasn't there?  He ask around for Eugene and they get Eugene on the phone who tells Tim he will be there in an hour or two, so hang around or come by tomorrow.  Finally Eugene shows up and the first thing he ask Tim was how is your friend Elbert Lowder doing and getting along.  They conclude their pleasantries, catch up on checker news, tourneys, etcetera, but didn't play since both decided it would be a standoff and parted as checker friends,  I believe Eugene and Tim enjoyed a coke during their visit.

Another time, Tim is close friends with the proprietor of Speakeazy Billiards in Sanford.  He realizes Tim is a master checker player from his numerous 1st place tournament finishes, and suggest he set up a match with a Roanoke fellow who will bet on anything.  O.A. Morea was a pool shark, he run Dolls & Guys Pool Hall, and a skilled gambler at cards, dice, bet on sport events, had punchboards, and a bookmaker / bookie.  So a car load (Tim, his backer, and several other enthusiast devotees) sail out for Roanoke, Virginia to an agreed $2,000 stake match, winner takes all.  Same thing happens, O.A. straight away sees Tim and knowing his reputation, he declares the match is off, he won't play. 

Below are a few links to a newspaper article and TV news clip videos:

11-14-1984 Charlotte Observer

 Grandmasters, Masters, & Players Obituaries