Mayor Felix Roque’s father dies at 95

Dr. Jose Roque, 95, the pioneering physician and father of Mayor Felix Roque passed away on Saturday.
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The mayor shared the news with Hudson TV this afternoon.

The elder Roque emigrated to West New York in 1967 from Cuba, fleeing the Communist regime to pursue a better life.

He spent the better part of his career providing medical care to poor immigrants who might not otherwise have access.

According to the mayor, his father was the first Cuban-American doctor licensed in New Jersey.

He remembers him making house calls on frigid winter mornings, many times free for families who couldn’t afford to pay.

In 2013, the corner of Palisade Avenue and 60th Street in West New York was renamed Dr. Jose R. Roque Way.

“He inspired my brothers, my sister and I to become doctors and he has always supported other doctors in the area,” Mayor Roque said at the time.

Dr. Jose Ramon Roque Abreu was an intellectual, a wonderful person, a scientist and an expert on politics — but also for his people was a dear friend with whom they could maintain endless debates on medicine and politics, according to a press release provided to the media.

Abreu was an illustrious doctor. 

On January 3, 1953 he obtained his license from the National Medical College of Cuba. He was a man of strong conviction, a tireless fighter of economic hardship and did not stop until he achieved his goals.

In 1968 he obtained a license to practice medicine in the United States, which he considered his second home.

New Jersey was the state, the city was West New York. Union City also welcomed him and like a good father, he protected the large Latino family of these two cities regardless of what awards were at stake.

He served these communities as he did in his native Cuba, without interest.  His main principle was to help others, which led him to be recognized by citizens and leaders.

He was a pioneer in the struggle for the most vulnerable citizens in this country, and established forms of support for the Latino community, who just became visible in the eyes of the American market.

“We live in a country that has given us new hope, where we are all equal and live in a democracy where the base of our unity is within the family,” Abreu said, words that resonate now more than ever.

Abreu leaves a great void for those who had the fortune of knowing him for his generosity.

Generations of people will not forget his life teachings and battle to save others.

Together with his tireless companion, Hilda Roque, they guided their children to live for the service of people in need.

May the Almighty help him rest his soul in eternal peace.

Dr. Abreu is survived by his sisters Aida, Berta and Magaly and his children Dr. Jose Ramon Roque, Dr. Hilda Roque, Dr. Felix Roque, Dr. Luis Roque.

He was an eminence in the field of medicine and served the Hispanic community until his death.

The funeral is scheduled for today.

All colleagues, friends and patients are invited to join the family in paying last respects to Abreu in front of the doctor’s office at 317 60th St. in West New York.

About The Author

Jillian has a passion for news, giving voice to the voiceless and telling stories that make an impact. A New Jersey native, she spent the past two years as a multimedia journalist/one-man-band at WTAP-TV, the NBC affiliate in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where she covered everything from meth busts to fracking to the homeless to a young man struck by lightening. She was her news director’s “go to health reporter” and also covered many education and political stories. She frequently interviewed the mayors of Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown, WV and Belpre and Marietta, Ohio. She interviewed OH Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Fitzgerald and OH Congressional Candidate Jennifer Garrison, as well as WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and WV Senator Joe Manchin. Jillian was a regular fixture at the local police, sheriff’s departments, prosecutors’ offices and courthouses. Many looked forward to her ‘Mom of the Month’ series. Her story about two women who lost their children to heroin was widely recognized, along with her much loved piece on the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis band camp. In her free time, Jillian enjoys yoga; working out, live music, spending time with friends on both coasts and the Mid-Ohio Valley. Follow on Twitter @JillianRis

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