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Arlington father, Air Force veteran dies after falling off ladder while decorating for Christmas

"He was so committed to his family, to his church, and to the Air Force, to the military," said his wife of 23 years, Tammy Roath.

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Christmas holiday was by far the best time of year for Mark Roath. Mark would spend one day just unboxing the hundreds of Christmas decorations for the interior and exterior of his Arlington home. 

Mark was meticulous about the way the home was decorated and took pride in knowing it was done right.

"He knew where everything went. It takes him two or three days," said his wife of 23 years, Tammy Roath.

On Friday before noon, the devoted husband and father was on a ladder helping one son with Christmas lights. Tammy is not entirely sure what or how it happened but when she turned the corner to the front of her home she saw Mark's body twisted in the ladder and his head pressed against the pavement of the driveway.

"I believe that he did not feel pain," said Tammy, who thinks her husband suffered a fatal head injury.

Roath first served in the Air Force at 17 years old and had recently retired after 38 long years. His love for service was evidenced by the countless military jet photos and patches and other paraphernalia that adorn his office.

"He was so committed to his family, to his church, and to the Air Force, to the military," said Tammy.

Tammy tells WFAA that Mark was very active in his church and was baptized soon after their marriage. Tammy recalls it being a life-changing moment for her husband. 

She also says not one morning did he miss giving a kiss and saying "I love you."

"I want him to be proud of me. I want to continue representing him and our family," she said.

These tragic accidents are common this time of year but that does not make it any easier for the Roath family. Tammy urges people to be careful while decorating.

"Don't do it alone. Have a ladder that is stable and secure," she said and added that people should be mindful of having the right attire and tools.

She is thankful for the family and friends who have come in support. 

The family tells WFAA that Mark's organs were donated, and there is some comfort in knowing that. The family also says Mark Roath will have a funeral and burial with full military honors and "will be in dress-blues."

The family has asked in lieu of flowers donations be made to foldsofhonor.org and HolidaysandHeroes.org and woundedwarriorproject.org.

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