John McCarthy Roll was known as a man of devotion - to his family, to his Catholic faith and to the law.

Roll, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Arizona, died Saturday in the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' life. Six people, including Roll, died and 13 more were injured.

A funeral Mass for Roll will be held at 10 a.m. today at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 8650 N. Shannon Road.

Roll had a long and distinguished legal career. He graduated from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1972 and worked as a city and county prosecutor before joining the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division II in Pima County. He served there until being appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the federal bench in 1991. He was nominated for the post by Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Roll had a reputation as a law-and-order judge, as well as a man of great compassion.

A classmate from Salpointe Catholic High School, Dave Hardy, wrote on the online guest book connected to Roll's obituary that he knew Roll in a professional capacity as well. "I had enormous respect for his integrity. Not just honesty but also the belief that there was 'law' out there, separate from his own likes and dislikes, and that a judge's task was to find and be bound by that, without fear or favor. He was a good judge and, beyond that, a great man."

Roll devoted his time and energy to helping other people understand and appreciate the law. He worked with developing nations in the former Soviet Union, assisting the creation of a judiciary system and other legal work. He acted from a deeply held belief that people should be free, and that a system of laws was an important part of building a free society.

Roll was a dedicated Catholic, and had gone to see Giffords after Mass on Saturday. Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson remembers Roll as a man of "great faith and great integrity."

"For many years, he would begin his day serving the early-morning Mass at SS. Peter and Paul. He proclaimed the Word of God as a lector at SS. Peter and Paul and St. Thomas the Apostle. He lived his faith as a servant of our nation for the cause of justice," Kicanas said on Saturday.

Roll is survived by his wife of 41 years, Maureen, three sons and five grandchildren.

Arizona Daily Star

In memory

The family of Judge John McCarthy Roll suggests that contributions be made in his memory to:

Merilac Lodge Group Home

c/o Catholic Community


140 W. Speedway

Tucson, AZ 85705

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona

3450 N. Kelvin Blvd.

Tucson, AZ 85716

John Roll Memorial Fund

(scholarship at UA's James E. Rogers College of Law )

contribute at john_m_roll_memorial_fund .cfm

Donations may also be sent by mail. Checks should be made payable to the "Law College Association," with a notation "John Roll Memorial Fund."

The address is James E. Rogers College of Law, P.O. Box 210176, Tucson, AZ 85712.