Marcus Roman, 52, a man of compassion

Posted: November 07, 2012

MARCUS ROMAN HAD a powerful social conscience. He was disturbed by how people in Philadelphia and around the world suffer under the scourges of poverty and disease.

And he wanted to do something about it.

He worked in human services in Montgomery County, where he was living, and followed his father, the Rev. Gus Roman, as the minister took care of his flock in some of the city's pockets of despair.

Marcus, described by his family as deeply committed to helping people and as a man who pondered the meaning of existence through philosophy and religion, died Sunday of cardiac arrest. He was 52 and lived in Lansdale.

"He was a serious kid," said his father, retired pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Germantown. "He had philosophical leanings, religious leanings, theology. He wanted to make sense of life.

"He was very compassionate. He was troubled by the poverty in the world and the inability of governments to make a serious impact on it."

To do his part to help alleviate the suffering that disturbed him, Marcus volunteered and took a job with a human-services agency in Montgomery County, and became an assistant to his father.

"I pastored in the city for a number of years, and working with me provided an outlet for him to express his concerns," his father said. "We made a lot of impact."

Together, father and son worked with the indigent and the troubled. There were programs for children and adults, food and clothing drives.

Every Thanksgiving, the church provided baskets of food for the needy, and Marcus was there to help tote the food. He also would help round up toys for needy children at Christmas.

"We had tutoring programs, encouraging young people to keep their heads in books," his father said. "He helped in collecting toys for the children of ex-convicts at Christmas."

Marcus was attracted to his father's Baptist faith, but his need to ponder ultimate truths apart from organized religion led his father to describe his son as a "free Baptist."

Marcus was born in Lawton, Okla., where his father was an Army chaplain at Fort Sill. His mother was Eunice Roman.

Back in Philadelphia, Marcus graduated from Martin Luther King High School. He spent a year at Southern University in New Orleans, and worked in a hotel in New Orleans for a time.

Marcus aspired to be an accountant and took an accounting course at a business school in Lansdale. He used his knowledge of accounting in his work with human-service agencies in Montgomery County, but did not become an accountant.

Marcus was athletic in his youth, enjoyed playing basketball at local playgrounds and was a skilled bowler. He was an avid fan of the 76ers and the Eagles.

Besides his parents, he is survived by two brothers, Derrick and Jeffrey, and two sisters, Jonai and Shauna Roman.

Services: 10 a.m. Saturday at Canaan Baptist Church, 5430 Pulaski Ave. Friends may call at 9 a.m. Burial will be in Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Prospectville.

Contact John F. Morrison at or 215-854-5573

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