Ralph W. “Bill” Rockett, 95, of Mt. Vernon, died 4:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, at his daughter’s home in Bonnie.
He was born Feb. 8, 1918, in Hamilton County, the son of John H. and Mary Jane (Driscoll) Rockett. He married Normal Lee Jackson on Nov. 19, 1938, in Marion. And she preceded him in death on April 10, 2002.
As a young boy, Bill grew up working at his family’s local store, “Rockett Grocery” on Perkins Avenue in Mt. Vernon. He entered into active duty with the U.S. Army on Oct. 2, 1944, with the 2536th AAF and became a Second Lieutenant and Navigator on a B-24 Liberator bomber during World War II involved with the Central European and Rhineland campaigns being released from active duty on Nov. 4, 1945. Upon returning from the war he owned and operated his family’s store for twenty years, from 1945 to 1965. In 1952, he was ordained as a minister at Community of Christ Church in Mt. Vernon and was pastor and elder of the church up to the present. He worked as a supervisor for the Illinois Department of Public Aid until retiring in 1984. He served as docent at the Jefferson County Historical Village, was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1376 and was an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan,
He is survived by two daughters, Linda Smith and husband Harold of Hampshire and Shelley Munton and husband Melvin of Bonnie; seven grandchildren, Jeff Rockett of Mt. Vernon, Jennifer McDonnough and husband Will of Mt. Vernon, Rita Faunce and husband Troy of Algonquin, Jerald Smith and wife Tanja of Highlands Ranch, Colo., Angeline Biehl of Red Bud, David Warner and wife Dawn of Miamisburg, Ohio and Christopher Warner and wife Misti of Collinsville; 16 great-grandchildren, Scott Rockett, Alicia Champ and husband Cody, Jordan Rivera, Dakota Rivera, Trent Faunce, Michaela Faunce, Trey Faunce, Ashley Biehl, Allyson Biehl, Dalton Warner, Dawson Warner, Alyssa Warner, Jasper Smith, Ezekiel Smith, Blake Sakosko and Katie Sakosko; daughter-in-law, Sharon Rockett of Salem; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his grandparents, James and Annie Rockett who raised him; his wife; son, Garry Rockett; one brother, Rufus Rockett; two sisters, Nellie Bertch and Mayona Cramer; stepsister, Ruthella Crawford; and stepbrother, Everett Williams.
Funeral service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Hughey Funeral Home in Mt. Vernon with Elder Gordon Rhine officiating. Interment will be at Brush Creek Cemetery in Wayne County. The chaplain of Mt. Vernon American Legion Post 141 will conduct a flag presentation service at the cemetery.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Hughey Funeral Home in Mt. Vernon.
For those who wish, memorials may be given to Brush Creek Campground or to Jefferson County Historical Village and will be accepted at the funeral home or mailed to Hughey Funeral Home, P.O. Box 721, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Hughey Funeral Home where you may call 242-3348 or visit www.hugheyfh.com for further information and to send condolences.