Bernadette Christine Rockman, affectionately known as “Bernie”, was born December 22nd, 1952 in Superior, Montana. Her parents, Cecelia Joanne Dolezal and Harry Daniel Rockman, were both Chester natives and spent their early married years in the Hi-Line community. Bernie was the youngest of four children.
Bernie received her elementary education at Superior. She finished her formal education at Billings Central High School and Thompson Falls High School, where she graduated in 1971. Bernie overcame a lot of adversity in her young life when she was diagnosed and battled brain cancer at age 12. After years of doctoring in Seattle, she moved from western Montana to be near family in Billings. Bernie worked various jobs in the Billings community before being employed by the J.T.L. Company. She enjoyed those 20+ precious years at J.T.L. where she was very thankful to the Joel & Andrea Long family and her friends & co-workers for their on-going support.
Bernie spent the last 15 years with her partner, Tom Love, with whom she had a special bond. They enjoyed fishing, camping, boating, and antiquing. In addition, they travelled to many Montana shooting ranges where Tom competed as an accomplished marksman – and Bernie was his biggest fan! They also enjoyed trips to Las Vegas where Bernie was delighted to celebrate her retirement party! Tom’s care for Bernie was remarkable and her family will forever appreciate the love & help Tom gave to her over the years.
Bernie enjoyed many personal hobbies. She loved music and had a large collection of record albums. Her favorite musical artists were “The Beatles” & “The Rolling Stones” (a highlight of her life was a trip to Seattle where she attended a live “Stones” concert). Bernie liked to read, especially the daily news. She maintained a large collection of family photos & albums; she joyfully shared these albums at family gatherings and loved reminiscing about the “good old times”. In addition, Bernie was a lifetime animal lover – especially her pet dogs. One of her greatest pleasures was shopping! She loved clothes, was an impeccable dresser, and always took pride in her general appearance.
Due to declining health, Bernie spent her final 18 months at the Canyon Creek Care Center in Billings. She loved this nursing facility, including her fellow-residents and care-givers. Bernie passed away peacefully there, surrounded by her loving family, in the early morning of November 17th, 2015. She was 62 years old. The Rockman family offers special thanks to her wonderful friends & staff at Canyon Creek for their compassion & loving care.
Bernie was a devout Catholic who loved the Lord and was a longtime member of St. Patrick’s Parish in Billings. In addition she was a hard, conscientious worker who always made the best of her life. Last, but not least, Bernie was a very thoughtful, selfless, & fun-loving woman who will always be remembered for her wit and beautiful smile.
She is survived by her 3 siblings, Jeannette Janicke of Trego, MT, Claudette Klein of Chehalis, WA, and Gene Rockman (and wife, Sheila) of Billings; her uncle, George Rockman of Port Orchard, WA; and many nieces, nephews; & cousins. Bernie was preceded in death by her father in 1979 and her mother in 1996.
Memorials have been offered to Rocky Mountain Hospice and Canyon Creek Care Center, both of Billings.
It was Bernie’s wishes to be cremated and buried with her parents in Chester. A memorial mass is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Wednesday (October 12th, 2016) at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Chester. Following committal prayers & burial of her urn at the Chester Cemetery, a reception will be held at St. Mary’s Church.
The Mass will be celebrated by Father Herbert Magaso. Mass music with be provided by Marie Woods (pianist) and Marcus Jochim (cantor). Arrangements are being handled by Rockman Funeral Chapel, Chester.Posted: by OverlieP