Nessye Mae Proffitt Roach, 91, former columnist for the Jeff Davis County Mountain Dispatch, died Jan. 26, 2015, after a lengthy illness. Her column “Long Ago” ran for 13 years and received an award from West Texas Press Association in 1998.
Roach was born on June 4, 1923, on a ranch near Junction, Texas, after her father rescued the doctor from the flooding Llano River. Her father taught her to ride and train horses and cut cattle. She learned to sing from her mother and to play guitar by listening to the shearing crews and Jimmy Rogers records.
She wrote cowboy poetry. Roach spoke and sang at the first Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine in 1987 and returned each year until 2009. She was presented The Cowboy Poetry Heritage Award in 1999.
Roach published two books: “The Cowboy Still Lives On,” cowboy poems; and “I'll Be Back,” about memories from WWII.
Roach was curator for the Overland Trail Museum for and was historical spokesperson/guide for chartered bus tours in the area. She received The Award of Excellence for Preserving History from the Texas Historical Commission in 1992.