Beverly Czoberek Roach, a self-made woman in a man's world who was a longtime Sacramento redevelopment official, died Aug. 30 of Alzheimer's disease, her family said. She was 91.
Mrs. Roach who was known in her career as Beverly Czoberek (pronounced ZO-ber-ek) retired in 1981 as assistant director for finance at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. She started as an accountant in 1957, was named controller within two years and spent more than two decades overseeing the agency's multimillion-dollar budget.
She reviewed public spending on every contract for construction projects that helped clean up Skid Row and revitalize downtown and Old Sacramento after World War II. In 1976, she recalled the rowdy bars and dilapidated buildings that blighted the area near her office at Fourth and J streets in the early years.
"There were grim mornings that I'd come to work to find some poor soul had died in a fire or on the street the night before," she said. "That was a regular occurrence. So you can understand how it was especially gratifying for me to take part in the redevelopment of those slums."
In an era of few women leaders in business, Mrs. Roach pulled herself up through hard work in the office and at home.
She rose to a top position overseeing the finance, human resources and legal departments at SHRA while raising five children as a single mother.
Her only formal educational qualification was a bookkeeping degree she earned through a correspondence course from a business college. She previously spent six years as buyer for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District until she had a baby in a time before maternity leave.
"She worked the day she had my brother," said her daughter Margery Redmer. "She went to the hospital after work, gave birth and then had to quit."
Beverly Lavendahl was born June 5, 1922, in Davenport, Iowa. The elder of two daughters, she became "the man of the family" at 13 when their father died, Redmer said. Her responsibilities included milking the family's cow before school and driving the car because her mother did not know how to drive.
Her family moved to Placer County, and she graduated from Lincoln High School. She attended Placer Junior College for a semester before marrying Lloyd Czoberek in 1940 and helping to build Merchant Marine ships in Oakland during World War II.
With a head for business, she bought a Placer County fruit ranch with her husband after the war while raising her children at home in Sacramento. She earned a real estate license and later invested in rental properties. In 1964, she organized an effort to annex her College Greens area and adjacent neighborhoods to the city of Sacramento.
Her first marriage ended in divorce. She was married since 1979 to J. William Roach.
Besides her husband and Redmer, Mrs. Roach is survived by three other daughters, Sharon Breck, Janice Groen and Donna Dunlap; a son, Loren Breck; 10 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
No service is planned.
Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Davila.