Born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 6, 1930, Joan Rochford at the age of 88, passed away on January 22, 2019 surrounded by loved ones in Camarillo, California. Joan grew up in San Diego, California. Joan graduated from The Academy of Our Lady of Peace in 1948. Her senior year, she was business manager of the Yearbook class, was a member of the Glee Club and Dramatics, Captain of the Volleyball team, played basketball, and worked on the Publicity Committee. She was described as “positive, argumentative, pursuer of ‘shortcuts to learning’ with carefree abandon.” After high school, Joan accompanied her parents to Havana, Cuba where she continued her education and honed her Spanish skills. Returning to San Diego, she met her husband, the late Commander John Rochford, a Navy pilot. As a Navy wife, Joan shouldered the responsibility of moving and raising five children while creating a loving home wherever John’s duty took them. As a Navy wife, she never complained about the moves to new cities. If her children moaned and groaned about it, she would simply say “onto bigger and better things.” Not only did she stay busy keeping the house and her children in ship-shape, she also was busy fulfilling obligations expected of an officer’s wife. Settling down in Camarillo, Joan continued her devotion to family. As they grew, turned her attention to educating children outside the family. As a Montessori teacher, she was able to share her piano and singing talents and her gift for educating a new generation of “little ones.” After this career, Joan devoted much of her time to her grandchildren who lovingly referred to her as “Cita”. They enjoyed many pleasurable hours in her home and in her blue van as she picked up and drove them to many activities.
Strong in character, Joan could make quite an impression on her family and the peoples’ lives she touched. She was often described as “one of a kind” and “bigger than life”. Her grandchildren would say that Cita, to the end, was sharp witted and eager to share her knowledge and perspective on topics at hand. Her strong Catholic faith gave her much comfort and strength throughout her life. She always marveled and showed great appreciation for the handiwork God created here on earth. To the very end, Joan took great pleasure in gardening, decorating her home for each season, and cooking. Each day she would thank God for the day at hand and the little things she could accomplish.
Along with John, they gave their children the gift of being able to go out in the world and succeed in whatever they thought best suited them. Together they imparted the importance of education and sacrificed to see that all five children graduated from college. Together, they took the family on many trips throughout the United States, teaching them the love for the outdoors, adventure, history, and a love for country. The legacy of Joan and John Rochford continues to live on in their family.
Joan will be dearly missed by her children: William (Janet), Jamie, Kim (Stephen), Patricia (Tim), and Stephen (Renee); her grandchildren: Heather, Christine, Daniel, Kirsten, Sarah, Katharine, Emily, Stephen, William, Elizabeth, Eric, Claire and seven great-grandchildren; her brother, William Harris. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, son Peter and great-grandchild Edward; may they rest in peace.
In the last year of Joan’s life, her circle of support grew as she added the regime of dialysis treatments and visits to rehabilitation facilities after a sickness and a fall. In her last few days of life, she received loving care from nurses, hospice providers, and caregivers. For all these special people who were involved in her life, be it short or long, we are forever grateful.
Family and friends are invited to honor Joan’s life. A vigil is on Thursday, February 7 at 5:00 pm at Conejo Mountain Memorial. The funeral service will be held at St. Mary Magdalen Chapel on Friday, February 8th at 10:00 am. After her burial, a reception will follow at Joan’s home.