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Remembering Terry Rockhold
Written May 3, 2015


Background:  For our 50-year Richwood High School reunion, we were invited to write reminiscences of deceased members of the Class of 1965.

I contributed the following about Terry Rockhold, who died in 2006 at the age of 59.


Terry was with our class from the beginning.  He recalled that in the kindergarten operetta, “Barbara Bugg and I were in the center of the stage, and they told me to kiss her hand.  Being a five-year-old boy, I didn't want to do that.  Eventually, they talked me into it.  When I kissed her hand during the matinee performance for the students, everybody laughed!  How humiliating!”

The Rockholds lived in what Terry called a “modest two-story stucco house” on South Franklin Street in Richwood, Ohio.  He became interested in shortwave and “ham” radio, “sitting in the kitchen of this house, listening to the BBC and Radio Moscow on an old floor model radio bought for $5.00 at a street auction.”

Another member of the family was a cocker spaniel.  Terry also had a sister, Karen, four years older; after her marriage she moved to San Diego.  Their parents, Clarence “Bee” and Alice Rockhold, died in October 1980 and January 1981.

In high school, both Terry and I were members of Bruce Cahill’s math and science classes.  However, advanced subjects like calculus were not available.

After graduation, we each enrolled in physics programs at colleges near Cleveland.  I went to Oberlin, while Terry went to the Case Institute of Technology.  He rented a room in the swanky suburb of Shaker Heights.  But he soon discovered he might be on the wrong career track.

As Ed Olson recalled at our 2010 reunion, Terry figured he was fairly smart, having graduated about fifth in our class.  But when he attended his first lecture at Case, he found it hard to keep up.  The professor filled one panel of the blackboard with equations, talking all the while.  Terry scribbled as fast as he could to copy the equations into his notebook while the professor continued on to the other side of the blackboard.  When the second board was filled, he came back to the first board and slid it up!  This revealed a third panel underneath, on which he continued to write his equations.  Terry was still frantically trying to copy the second board while simultaneously trying to listen to what the professor was saying about the third.

Yes, science classes at college were definitely more difficult than our relaxed sessions with our high school teacher Mr. Cahill.  And so were math classes.

Terry wrote me, “I think at least 50% of the freshmen at Case had completed a year of calculus in high school.  I thought that I was as prepared as most of the freshmen in science and English, but math was a different story.”

In 1967, Case federated with the adjacent Western Reserve University and became CWRU.  About the same time, Terry switched his major from physics to business administration.

After graduation, the war in Viet Nam was still going on, but schoolteachers were deferred from the draft.  Therefore Terry became a schoolteacher.  He continued at CWRU with classes two nights a week toward an MBA degree, which would increase his chances of getting the kind of military assignment he wanted when he finally joined the army a few years later.  Or maybe the teaching deferment might give him sufficient time to wangle his way into the Reserves; or if he liked teaching well enough, he might possibly keep at it for 13 years, since draft liability ends at age 35. 

Although he had no education courses as an undergraduate, he did have a good bit of experience in tutoring ninth-grade algebra and similar subjects.  He found a job as a 7th-grade math teacher in a suburb near Cleveland.  He didn't like it very well.  The kids weren't cooperative; sort of the adolescent spoiled-brat type who wouldn't keep quiet in class.  Then he became a high school chemistry and physics teacher in the rural Triad school district outside Wooster.  That was a much better situation; the kids were more industrious and eager to do the work.

As it turned out, the military draft was phased out when Terry was only 25, and he was free to move on.  In 1972 he joined the public accounting firm of Price Waterhouse and Company as a staff accountant, working out of an office on East Broad Street in downtown Columbus.

I helped him move his newly-purchased furniture, shown here, into the Fox & Hounds Apartments in the northwest part of the city.

He was active in the Scioto Sports Car Club, with me as his navigator, and he was the chairman of the club’s Project VI rally series.

Public accountants provide auditing services to other corporations called clients.  If I correctly recall Terry’s explanation, new Price Waterhouse employees were known as Junior Auditors.  After a couple of years’ experience, they became Senior Auditors and took on some management responsibilities.  The best Seniors eventually were promoted to Managers, and the best Managers became Partners in the firm.  Of course, the firm needed many lower-level workers but only a few Partners.  Therefore, a Senior who failed to make Manager within a few years was expected to resign.  He then typically would have to find a position in the audit department of some client corporation and start trying to climb that ladder.

As I recall, in 1975 Terry moved on to a paper products company with an office near Delaware, Ohio.  Later he became the director of internal auditing for the Burger King Corporation, headquartered in Miami.  When I visited him in suburban Kendall, Florida, in 1986, the biggest mistake that he was trying to correct that week was a purchase by a pizza-restaurant subsidiary.  They’d bought more canned tomatoes than they could use.  A few hundred truckloads too many, I gather.

He said the BK executives were convinced that their tasty flame-broiled Whoppers were the best hamburgers in the fast-food industry, but they were stunned when a survey showed consumers considered Wendy’s to be of higher quality.

Eventually he left sunny Miami and took a position in snowy Buffalo.  I had no particular desire to visit him in suburban Depew, New York.  We no longer talked as often, and I don’t even remember what company he worked for.

However, I know he kept up his lifelong interest in ham radio, using the call letters K2OO and becoming the president and also the newsletter editor of the South Towns Amateur Radio Society.

In 2006 I received a forwarded e-mail from Connie Hill:  “Have you heard that they found Terry Rockhold dead in his apartment a few weeks ago, an apparent heart attack.  ...I don't think there is/will be any kind of service.   Sad.”

On the Internet I found this obituary from the STARS newsletter.

It is with great sadness that we must inform you that Terry W. Rockhold K2OO became a Silent Key on September 20th, 2006.  Terry was a longtime member and past board member for ARATS as well as with STARS where he also was a past President. His passing is not only a loss for ARATS, but for the Amateur Radio Community as a whole. He was a mentor and a friend who will be sadly missed. Terry was an incredibly active ham, participating in many aspects of Amateur Radio including VE examinations, licensing classes, and fox hunting, as well as many other hobbies.

His sister Karen, who had survived two heart valve replacements and two major strokes, died only six weeks after Terry.  She was survived by her daughter Nikki.

I’ve mentioned Terry many times on this website, including:
Our rally that attracted only one pair of contestants
Our vacation trip to Canada
Terry’s Student Council campaign with Ed Olson
A musical skit for Latin Club
A comedy skit for Latin Club
A bizarre dream

Over the many decades I knew him, I really enjoyed our long conversations.  My mother used to call him “Windy,” because he always had stories to tell.



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