JOSEPH JOHN ROCHEL
January 22nd, 1948 - August 17th, 2023
Joseph John Rochel, born to Xavier James Rochel and Marcella Bridgette, brother to Jim Rochel and Marcella Rochel, husband to Marcia Faschan, and father to Joseph James Rochel and John Xavier Rochel has gone on to be with his father in heaven. I have no doubt that he is finally at peace, joyfully playing with his beloved Golden Retrievers; Stony, Max, Barkley, and Maggie, who have gone before him. I am also confident that he is diligently working with his hands, in heaven as he did on earth, with all the time and materials needed to construct the train layout of his dreams. Because to know Joe was to know his passions. From an early age, Joe found comfort in simple things, namely Lionel Trains. I imagine because he spent much of his childhood battling against the disease of Polo. A disease which at the time of his youth robbed many of their faculties as well as their life, however Joe found the strength within to overcome. I remember spending many hot summer days riding around the streets of New York City where Joe had achieved his dream of owning his own Construction company he named Lehcor Construction. (If you spell the name backwards you might discover that he was also very clever.) During those days sweating inside the metal Ford Econoline work van, I would watch my father squeeze these black coiled tension grips over and over with ease. I was amazed when I tried to squeeze it for the first time, because I couldn’t get it to budge. I remember thinking it was a magic trick. He told me about how as a child he spent a year in a hospital bed battling with what Polio was doing to his body. He used these hand grips to relieve the pain he was in while prisoner in that bed. He recalled the day that he squeezed the grip with such ferocity that the coil actually cracked! I remember thinking that my dad must be the strongest man alive. Like all great characters, Joe had his own ‘Hero’s Journey’. While the trials of his youth may have given birth to a man of immense determination and grit, he also learned to bury his feelings and soldier on no matter the cost. Life was not easy for Joe. Divorced at a young age, in a time when divorce was shameful, and forced to learn to father a son only a couple weekends a month, while struggling to start a business in the toughest city on Earth. Like all of us, Joe struggled to find his way. Growing up I can remember watching my father spend hours at night studying to get his General Contractor’s license from New York University. I also remember sitting in waiting rooms of what I would later learn were therapist appointments. My favorite memories with my father are when he would join me on my Boy Scout trips. Battling the rapids of the Hudson River, getting thrown out of water parks for causing a pile up inside the slide, or setting up a tent in the pouring rain, (by the way, it rained on every single trip my father attended, my troupe almost banned him from future weekends for fear he was bad luck). I learned a great deal from my father growing up, however the greatest lessons came from watching how he got back up after a fall. A few years later, Joe would meet the woman he would spend the rest of his life with. Marcia was a nurse, and while I didn’t get too see much of their courtship, there is one moment that I will never forget, for it was the moment I realized my father had found his perfect counterpart. A women of equal strength and grit, but with the compassion of a pediatric nurse. I was about ten years old, and I had my first ear infection. What I didn’t know, was that one of the symptoms of an ear infection was a buzzing sound within your ear canal. I was convinced there was a bee inside my ear and began screaming and punching myself in the ear to try and get it out. With laughter and a demeanor which instantly put me at ease, Marcia calmed me down and help me through this traumatic event. I knew in that moment, my father had found his perfect mate. Joe married Marcia on June 2nd, 1990. It was a beautiful ceremony with all their friends and family in attendance. Not long after Marcia gave birth to John Xavier Rochel, my brother. I remember there was a tv show called “Dinosaurs” where the baby would constantly throw his food at the father and yell, “Not the Mama!.” Joe loved this show, mainly because he related to the father. Whatever lessons he learned with me in his youth, John was sure to challenge. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor. In that same spirit, Joe, always a glutton for punishment, decided not only to reprise his Boy Scout adventures with John, but he took it a step further and became the Scoutmaster! I can’t say if the rain continued to plague every trip as it did during my tenure, but I do know the time with his troupe, and his son were some of the most cherished of his life. Over the years, Joe did what he did best, he figured it out. After being savagely attacked by a day laborer in New York City, Joe realized it was time to make a change. He closed his business, and moved his family to Carolina Shores, North Carolina. I’m certain this wasn’t an easy decision, you see Joe was New York City, but he knew he needed to put his family first. He took a job far below his station for a local building company and in the second season of his life, worked his way up to one of the top Supervisors for one of the largest residential construction companies in the nation. In typical Joe fashion, he chose to build his own home, which he meticulously finished with his own hands. Together Joe and Marcia build a home that was as warm and welcoming as a scene from a Normal Rockwell painting. Of course they had their struggles, but as anyone who has ever pulled into the driveway of their home and driven past the majestically manicured landscape can attest, you knew you were in a place where love would certainly abide. Joe is survived by brother, Jim Rochel, his wife Marcia, sons Joseph and John, Grandchildren, Jaelynn and Jackson, and their two golden retrievers, Buddy and Whiskey. After suffering a stroke and a short battle in the hospital, on Thursday August 17th, 2023 Joe has laid down his tool belt, and had peacefully departed this world into the open arms of his Heavenly Father.
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