Jacob Roelli

Sgt. Jakob J. Roelli, 24, of Darlington, Wis., died Sep. 21, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked their unit with small arms fire. They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan. He was born the son of Richard Roelli and Dawn (Gill) Lacy. Jake was member of First Baptist Church in Darlington. He was 13 when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and chose to be baptized. Jake attended Darlington High School, where he was active in the theater and a member of the wrestling, football, and cross country teams. In 2006, he graduated from high school and continued his education at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. In 2007, Jake joined the United States Army. Following basic training Jake went into the Infantry; he later received Special Forces training, and was then deployed as an Infantryman to Afghanistan in 2011. Jake is survived by his father: Richard Roelli of rural Darlington; his mother: Dawn (Chris) Lacy of Fort Davis, TX; one brother: Matthew (Eryn) Roelli; one niece: Olivia all of Verona, WI; his fiancée; Caitlin Pixler of Manhattan, KS; his maternal grandfather: Robert Gill of rural Shullsburg, WI; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandmother: Margery Gill on October 21, 1996; and his paternal grandparents: Edwin Roelli on October 26, 2006 and Anne Roelli on November 6, 2007.

Sergeant Jakob J. Roelli, age 24, of Darlington, WI, passed away September 21, 2011, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom.

He was born July 30, 1987, in Darlington the son of Richard Roelli and Dawn (Gill) Lacy. Jake was member of First Baptist Church in Darlington. He was 13 when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and chose to be baptized. Jake attended Darlington High School, where he was active in the theater and a member of the wrestling, football, and cross country teams. In 2006, he graduated from high school and continued his education at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. In 2007, Jake joined the United States Army. Following basic training Jake went into the Infantry; he later received Special Forces training, and was then deployed as an Infantryman to Afghanistan in 2011.

Jake is survived by his father: Richard Roelli of rural Darlington; his mother: Dawn (Chris) Lacy of Fort Davis, TX; one brother: Matthew (Eryn) Roelli; one niece: Olivia all of Verona, WI; his fiance; Caitlin Pixler of Manhattan, KS; his maternal grandfather: Robert Gill of rural Shullsburg, WI; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandmother: Margery Gill on October 21, 1996; and his paternal grandparents: Edwin Roelli on October 26, 2006 and Anne Roelli on November 6, 2007.

Jake was assigned to the Company A, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armour Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley Kansas and died from injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.

A full Military Honors funeral service with will be held Saturday, October 8, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church, 15691 County Road K in Darlington with Rev. Nate Whiteside officiating. Burial will be in Union Grove Cemetery in Darlington. A visitation will be held Friday, October 7, 2011, from 2:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church and on Saturday, October 8, 2011, from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service at the church. The Erickson Funeral Home and Crematory in Darlington is serving the family. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.ericksonfuneralhome.com.

In lieu of flowers, all memorials may be given to the Darlington Area Veterans Memorial, PO Box 37, Darlington, WI 53530.

Two defining forces have ever offered to die for us. 1) Jesus Christ 2) the American GI. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

It wasn’t enough for Jakob Roelli to join the Army, putting college and dreams of law school on hold. He wanted to be in the Special Forces, whose members undergo the most grueling training and carry out some of the most dangerous missions.

“When Jake decided to join the Army, he fully embraced all aspects of what it meant to be a soldier,” said his former girlfriend, Amy Siegenthaler, a UW-Madison senior. “His summer before basic training, you could find him running around Darlington in his Army boots and a backpack full of rocks or bricks.

“When he found out his scores were high enough for him to be in Special Forces, he was beyond happy. He wanted to be right in the middle of all the action. He was a fearless man who would take on any challenge.”

Earlier this week, that dream ended when the 24-year-old Army specialist was killed in Afghanistan. His father and brother traveled Thursday to Dover Air Force Base to bring Roelli’s remains home to Wisconsin. An Army spokeswoman said details of his death were not yet being released.

Jakob Roelli grew up on a farm outside of Darlington and graduated from Darlington High School in 2006. He played football, ran cross country, wrestled, was on the forensics team, acted in school plays and musicals, including Beauty and the Beast and The Sting, and enjoyed pastimes including sliding down the moss-covered dam at Ludden Lake in Mineral Point.

“He was a young man who was not afraid to try new things,” Principal Doug McArthur said, recalling Roelli as “really a fun-loving guy.”

Roelli was a four-year member of the school’s Odyssey of the Mind team, in which students compete in creative problem-solving exercises. The Darlington team won the state competition in its division in 2006, Roelli’s senior year, McArthur said.

Roelli spent a year at UW-Oshkosh but traded in his books to join the Green Berets.

Help Us Honor Their Memory
Darlington
09/21/2011
Age: 24
Incident Location: Kandahar, Afghanistan
Branch: Army
Rank: Sgt.
Unit: 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
Units Base: Fort Riley, Kansas