Chief Jeffrey David Roosa (RET) of Lee, MA passed away at his home on May 29, 2021. He was the son of Ralph and Diane (Heath) Roosa, born July 23, 1973. He attended school in Lee, MA graduating from Lee High School in 1991, and went on to graduate from Westfield State College in 1996. He started his 26-year career in law enforcement as a part-time police officer at the Lee Police Department in 1995, then joining the Sheffield Police Department in 1996 after graduating from college. After 6 years of service at the Sheffield department, he transferred back to the Lee Police Department in 2001, which for him felt like coming home. While an officer at the Lee Police Department, he served as the department’s Firearms Instructor, Taser Instructor, and ALICE (Active shooter response and training) Instructor. He also served as an instructor at the Massachusetts Police Training Council (MPTC) Academy level for new officers. He was an active member and supporter of the local Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) program which supports the Special Olympics, where he organized events such as the Ugly Sweater Run and the Lee Bucket Brigade which helped hundreds of athletes over the years. He also served as a DARE camp instructor and assisted with the camp’s ropes program.
In addition to his responsibilities as a patrolman for the town of Lee, he served on the Berkshire County Special Response Team (BCSRT). BCSRT is comprised of local highly trained law enforcement officers from multiple police departments who, along with their department responsibilities, volunteer to be on call 24/7 for high risk situations that are outside the boundaries of local law enforcement capabilities. While part of BCSRT, his knowledge, experience, and willingness to put his fellow officers ahead of himself earned him the position of team leader, where his team knew that he never asked a fellow team member to do anything that he was not willing to do, or had not already done himself.
In 2012, he accepted a promotion within the Lee Police Department and was appointed as a civil service recognized sergeant, followed a year later by another promotion when he was appointed as the chief in 2013. As chief, he made service to the community a priority with a regular presence at the Lee public schools fostering a positive relationship between Lee’s youth and law enforcement. He was a regular participant in several school events, including youth hikes, cook outs, career days and field days, donned costumes for school Halloween events, and coordinated with local community groups to stage “Trunk or Treat” events. He had his department participate in the Pink Patch Campaign to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. He served the remainder of his career as chief of the Lee Police Department until his retirement in 2021, earlier this year. During his career he received multiple commendations, including a Massachusetts State Police Medal of Valor.
In addition to a distinguished career in law enforcement, Jeff also served his community in other ways. He was a proud and active Lee town representative. He coached several local kids through the Lee Youth Football and Lacrosse programs and was active in the Lee Grid Iron Club, which serves as the support system for the Lee High School Wildcats football team. He was also an athlete in his own right, playing football up through high school and into his first year of college. As an adult he competed in many charity races, ran a marathon with his wife, and was part of a family team that competed in the Josh Billings Runaground for several years. He was an active member of the Lee Sportsman’s Club where he assisted with various youth hunt programs teaching area kids proper safety when hunting. In 2017, after being diagnosed with ALS, he co-founded “Arrest and Extinguish ALS” with former Deputy Fire Chief Mike Polidoro, for the purpose of raising money and awareness to fund research to fight ALS.
Jeff was also very proud of the family he built with his wife of 23 years, Jennifer (Maloney) Roosa. They were married August 29, 1998 and together raised their three sons Hunter, Taggart, and Maguire. Jeff was a father of many talents, including sewing and baking. He created several cake masterpieces over the years, for his kids’ birthdays, as well as nieces and nephews, not to mention, a few other special occasions, never disappointing in flavor or design. He also created several Halloween costumes reflecting the latest dream or aspiration. He had a special gift and a quick draw with his phone to search the internet for a random fact or a colorful holiday-themed joke to get the whole family laughing after a good holiday dinner. He also had a quick wit and had a comment for every situation to bring a little levity to any conversation. Even after he lost the ability to talk, his friends and family knew what he wanted to say just by the look on his face. Jeff truly enjoyed watching his kids as well as nieces and nephews compete in their various sporting events, and always wanted to hear how the competition went if he was not able to watch for himself. Recently Jeff channeled his energies into woodworking, teaching himself the art of laser wood engraving. Jeff created numerous wood flags, badges, and coins which will be a cherished gift from Jeff by all who received one.
Jeff is survived by his wife Jennifer and their three sons Hunter, Taggart, and Maguire, as well as his mother and father, Ralph and Diane Roosa, his brother Todd Roosa, his sister Stephanie Siuda, along with in-laws, nieces, nephews, extended family, friends, and his law enforcement family.
First Responders are invited to pay their respects on Tuesday, June 1 from 2 – 4PM and then general public from 4 – 6PM at the Kelly Funeral Home in Lee. Please enter the building from the Main St. door and exit the building from the back door. A funeral service and honors for Chief Roosa will be held on Wednesday, 10AM at the First Congregational Church in Lee. At this time the church is practicing COVID-19 protocols and seating may be limited. The church also requests that all unvaccinated people please wear masks. Audio of the service will be provided to the overflow gathered at the park.
In lieu of flowers donations in Jeff’s memory may be made to the Chief Roosa Memorial Scholarship Fund in care of the Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main St., Lee, MA 01238.
If you would like to leave a message of condolence or share pictures with the family, please visit our web site at www.kellyfuneralhome.net
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Chief Roosa Memorial Scholarship
C/O Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main St., Lee MA 01238