Roger Alan Gnolfo was born Roger Alan Norphy in St. Joseph, MO, on Thursday, March 15, 1934 to Frank (Norphy) Gnolfo and Madeline Jean Stafford. He later changed his name to Roger Alan Gnolfo. He died on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at the age of 90.

Roger lived a colorful life, full of many different experiences.

As a teenager, he was a boxer whose nickname was “Chocolate.” He fondly remembered winning $15 in a boxing tournament in Grant City, MO.

At the age of 16, Roger forged his mother’s signature to join the Marines. He said he joined to be like John Wayne, who “had a rifle in one hand and a gal in the other.” Roger served with the Marines from 1950 to 1953 and fought in Korea where he was injured by a bayonet.

After he was discharged, Roger played professional roller derby in Los Angeles with the Thunderbirds. He also carried sheetrock for a contractor,  which he did not enjoy.

He returned to St. Joseph, MO, where he drove a dry cleaning truck. Later, he served in the fire department, supplementing his income by working at a grocery store and trimming trees.He moved to Downey, CA where he sold Ford vehicles before working for the police department.

He returned to Kansas City, where he worked in car sales. Later, he worked in internal security and investigations, opening his own private detective agency. Then he worked for the Kansas City, Kansas police department before becoming a director of security for a film delivery company and, later, an investigator for Montgomery Wards.

Roger married four times over the years – Norma (with whom he had Vicki, Dino, Frank, and David), Carolyn, Carmen, and Pat, with whom he’d spend the next 37 years: the rest of his life.

In 1987, Roger was introduced to Pat by Pat’s mother, Edith, at Maxine’s Restaurant and Dance on 40 Highway in Independence, MO. Roger called Pat the love of his life. Pat was fascinated by his stories, even the stories that changed over time. She loved going out with Roger and dancing with him. Roger gave her unwavering support through the sickness and deaths of her mother, Edith (whom he called “Mert”) and her sister Tina. Together, they adopted a beloved poodle named Rocky, whom he loved dearly as well.

Roger loved competition and betting. He was excellent at cards and golf. He enjoyed dancing. He took up dancing because of his war injury. His favorite dances were the Samba, Waltz, and Swing. He loved the Chiefs and sports memorabilia and volunteering at Sports Nutz, helping athletes as they gave signatures. He loved food – biscuits and gravy, burgers, fries, steaks, Pepsi, ice cream, and chocolate.

Roger battled dementia the last several years of his life but still often won people over with his sharp mind and quick wit.

On April 6, 2023, he was asked, “Would you say that you have received Jesus as Savior?” He closed his eyes, quietly nodded, and said, “yes.”

Then he was asked, “Do you have any advice on life for your grandkids?” He answered, “To learn and remember God… and stay in school.”

Roger passed away at Garden Terrace at Overland Park where he received excellent care for dementia. Monarch Hospice provided comfort for him the three times he was on hospice, including at the end of his life.

Roger is survived by his wife, Patricia D. Gnolfo of Overland Park, Kansas; a stepson Tim Howey (Cathy) and a stepdaughter Angela Creach; and 4 grandchildren Jacob, Karina, and Mallon Howey, and Claira Creach.

Roger was preceded in death by his daughter Vicki Norphy (deceased) of St Joseph, Missouri. He is survived by his grandchild Nicki Norphy; 3 great grandchildren; and 4 great great grandchildren.

Roger is survived by his son, Dino Norphy (Kim) of Kyle, Texas; 2 grandchildren Talitha Pierceson (Austin), and Jonathan Norphy (Christina); and 4 great grandchildren.

Roger is survived by his son Frank Norphy (Sherrie Johnson) of Independence, Missouri.

Roger is survived by his son Dave Norphy (Cindy) of Greenbrier, Arkansas; 4 grandchildren David Jr., Jenny, Brendan, and Reed; and 3 great grandchildren Sofia, Noah, and Stiles.

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