Man who served in the military for 38 years dies after falling off ladder while decorating home for Christmas

A retired Air Force officer from Texas was all set to spend some quality time with his family, but couldn’t live this dream. Mark Roath tragically fell off the ladder late last month while putting up Christmas decorations at his Arlington home. According to the Air Force veteran’s obituary, he passed away on Saturday, November 27, just two days after Thanksgiving, leaving his family heartbroken. He was 57.

Speaking to ABC affiliate WFAA, Mark’s wife, Tammy Roath, recalled the horrifying day when she found her husband in an ailing state. He was apparently on a ladder, putting up Christmas lights with the help of their son on November 26 when the accident happened. Tammy, who had been married to Mark for 23 years, said the incident occurred a little before noon but noted being unsure about the circumstances that led to it. 

At one point, she made her way outside to see how the decorations were coming along and that’s when she was shocked to find Mark’s body twisted in the ladder and his head resting against the driveway. In a state of panic, she immediately called the emergency services for help. Officers from the Arlington Fire Department arrived at the address soon after receiving a report of an injured person who fell from the “roof.”

Mark was then rushed to a local hospital where he was sadly pronounced dead according to NBC affiliate KXAS. “I believe that he did not feel pain,” said Tammy, noting that she thinks her husband suffered a severe head injury during the fall that ultimately led to his death. Losing a beloved family member is hard as it is, but the fact that Mark died with the holiday season right around the corner is especially heartbreaking, shared his wife.

The late veteran loved holidays and this year too he was looking forward to decorating his home for Christmas but fate, unfortunately, had other plans for him. “He knew where everything went,” she told WFAA. “It takes him two or three days.” Apart from adoring the holiday cheer, Mark loved his family – including his three sons, two stepdaughters, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren – as well as his job. 

“He was so committed to his family, to his church, and to the Air Force, to the military,” shared Tammy, adding that mark began his service in the Air Force when he was just 17. Mark “served as Master Sergeant for the U.S. Air Force” and “was the proudest of his service as a Desert Storm veteran during the Gulf War,” according to his obituary.

He also “served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, two tours in Iraq, and countless other assignments during his 38 years of military service” and “received numerous awards and accolades including Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation, several Outstanding Unit Medal Awards, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon.”

Per PEOPLE, he was a member of the 301st Fighter Wing Maintenance Group for over 21 years. After his death, the group posted a press release on its sitewhere they described Mark as a “kind and humble” man. Mark, who loved woodworking and creating clocks and pens, also donated his organs. 

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