Roger J. Eyrolles loved playing baseball when he was young and loved coaching young baseball players. That's why he continued to donate his time and expertise as a baseball coach for Baldwin-Whitehall for nearly two decades after his son was done playing.
His longtime friend and fellow coach, Jim Munn of Bethel Park, said that was because Mr. Eyrolles, of Baldwin Borough, wanted to help the 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds he coached to learn life lessons as well as the fundamentals of hitting and fielding.
"He knew baseball and he cared passionately," Mr. Munn said. "To most people he seemed gruff ... but the kids liked him. He really understood the game, but the bottom line was that what Roger cared about most were the kids on the team.
"He was there to teach them and a lot of his players are now doctors, lawyers [and college professors]. He taught those kids how to be men."
Mr. Eyrolles died Tuesday in Jefferson Regional Medical Center. He had been diagnosed in July with pancreatic cancer, his wife, Susan, said. He was 62.
She noted that Mr. Eyrolles succeeded in coaching because "he worked well with this age group. He just really felt a connection and felt he could make a difference. He truly dedicated himself to these kids in Baldwin and Whitehall."
Mr. Eyrolles was a four-year baseball letterman at the former Snowden High School, now South Park High School. He received scholarship interest from some colleges but with the Vietnam War raging he chose instead to enlist in the Coast Guard and served stateside.
Upon returning to civilian life, he attended CCAC South, where he continued his baseball career.
For 30 years, he owned and operated Roger's Baked Goods, a distributor of baked goods to Mon Valley pizza shops and restaurants.
Mr. Eyrolles was preceded in death by his son, John, 18, who died in a 2009 car accident. Mrs. Eyrolles said her husband, devastated by John's passing, sought solace in his Catholic faith.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Roger J. Eyrolles of Norfolk, Va.; a daughter, Aubrey L. Eyrolles of San Diego, Calif.; his parents, Jean R. and Dolores J. Eyrolles of South Park; two sisters, Suzanne Myers of Granville, W.Va., and Janet Mignogna of Hatfield, Montgomery County; two brothers, Jean Eyrolles of Richmond, Va., and Larry Eyrolles of South Park; and three grandchildren.
Friends will be received Sunday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Griffith Mortuary, 5636 Brownsville Road, South Park. A Mass will be celebrated in Nativity Church, South Park, on Monday at 10 a.m. where everyone is asked to meet.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation, 20411 Route 19, Unit 14, Cranberry, PA 16066.
Michael A. Fuoco: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1968.