Saint Ignatius High School

A Vocation To Do Good

The story of how Roger Deike ’65 made a positive impact at the Malachi Center, written by Pat McManamon ’75 for the Saint Ignatius Magazine.
Written by Pat McManamon '75

As Roger Deike ’65 perused the bulletin before a 1999 Sunday Mass at St. Mark’s parish, an advertisement caught his attention: The Seeds of Literacy program was seeking volunteers.

“I thought to myself, ‘That sounds like something I can do,’” Deike says.

The program that provides tutoring to adults seeking their GED was offered at Malachi Center, the community outreach arm of the well-known parish so close to Saint Ignatius High School. So Deike volunteered, and a random moment before Mass became the seed for 20 years of work for and in the community.

“Being so close to Saint Ignatius, it kind of felt like I was returning to my roots,” Deike says.

Deike taught the GED program for three years while also working full-time as the Cuyahoga County Controller. In 2002, he retired from his county job. After completing his tutoring duties, he still wanted to stay involved with the Center, so he asked if any paid positions were available. Two weeks after “retiring,” he took over as Manager of Malachi Mart.

He grew in the Center, eventually becoming Business Manager, where he applied the same financial acumen he had at the county to ensure the center could carry out its core mission of helping those in need.

“He’s been helpful to everybody here – from the director to people who work in the children’s program to even the participants in the programs,” says Lynn Scott, Malachi Center Program Director.

Deike retired from the Center in May — this time he believes for good  — and as he reflects on his time there, he draws on his high school experience. He speaks with humility and does not insist anyone follow his path. He just believes in the individual’s ability to find a vocation to do good.

“You just can’t get away from the phrase Men for Others,” Deike says. “I know a lot of people who volunteer for different causes and groups. Maybe when you see what others have gotten involved in, you want to do what you can and extend yourself to do those kinds of things as well.”

Deike grew up near St. Patrick’s parish on Rocky River Drive in the West Park neighborhood of Cleveland. He went from Saint Ignatius to John Carroll University, and then directly to Ohio University to earn his Master’s degree in Business Administration. He served as an officer in the US Army’s Transportation Corps before returning to Cleveland.

He and his wife Jane have been married for 48 years and have three adult children: Ben, John ’01 and Betsy, all raised in Lakewood. Roger and Jane served meals to those in need at St. Patrick’s on Bridge Avenue, and both volunteered for the church in the City Committee. 

“It’s just a sense,” Roger says, “of looking out for the less fortunate. And trying to do what you can.”