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With profound sadness, the staffs at the Visit Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau and Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas acknowledge the passing of our co-worker, colleague and great friend Kelly Roche.
During this extremely painful time, our thoughts are with his beloved family, and his many, many friends within the hospitality industry and beyond.
Kelly began his 32-year hospitality industry career in Irving as the director of catering at the Holiday Inn DFW Airport North. It didn’t take long for him to make his mark; Kelly loved this industry and it loved him back. He served as director of catering at the Ramada Plaza Hotel Dallas Convention Center and Holiday Inn Select Mockingbird before making the jump to sales for Radisson Hotel & Suites Dallas. He would come back to sell Irving’s rebranded Holiday Inn Select DFW North, and hold sales positions at the Crowne Plaza Market Center, Harvey Hotel DFW Airport and Omni Park West.
In 2005, Kelly joined the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau/Visit Irving, where he worked for the remainder of his career. Selling both the destination and the Irving Convention Center, he originally handled the national association market until focusing fulltime on the national corporate market and government accounts.
Throughout his career, there were very few industry organizations he didn’t touch. He was most active with the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP), where he served on the Dallas Chapter Board of Directors; he received SGMP’s Sam Gilmer Supplier Award and twice received the Outstanding Supplier of the Year, Member’s Choice and President’s Awards. Kelly was named the Visit Irving Sales Manager of The Year multiple times, including last year.
He also served on the board of the Dallas Fort Worth Humane Society, where he adopted his two cats, Tobin and Gigi. Kelly frequently watched his colleague’s children – both two- and four-legged – which earned him the nickname “memaw.”
A lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan, he was a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington.
Kelly possessed a special kind of magic that touched everyone whose path he crossed. He was loved by clients, suppliers and competitors, and had a wide net of friends from all walks of life.
But there was nothing Kelly loved more than spending time with his family: brother Kim Roche & wife Joyce; sister Keri Gentile; nieces Jennifer Roche Dybvig & husband Chris, and Amanda Roche Williams & husband Brandon; nephews Kristopher Roche & wife Kristin, and Gabriel Gentile; eight great nieces and nephews, Cole, Riley, Makayla, Reed, Tinley, Brylan, Reagan and Wyatt; and until her passing last January, beloved mother Irene Roche.
We want to extend our sincere appreciation for the tremendous outpouring of love and support for Kelly over the past month. It is a true testament to the impact he made on so many people. We all gathered in May during the lockdown to chalk the sidewalks of the Irving Convention Center in honor of our struggling industry and National Travel & Tourism Week. In true Kelly fashion, he bought his own chalking kit, and worked for two days until he perfected what he wanted to say …
“We’ll Meet Again.” Yes, Kelly, we will.