Jocelyn “Jocie” DeShong Rohde, 81, died peacefully on Sept, 20, 2014, at South Peninsula Hospital with her family at her side. The cause of death was cancer of the pancreas.
A memorial service was held 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, at St. Augustines’ Episcopal Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to El Hogar Ministries, 70 Church Street, Winchester, MA 01890; or St. Augustines’ Episcopal Church, P. O. Box 4274, Homer, AK 99603-4274.
Jocie She was born Nov. 21, 1932, in Kansas City, Mo., and lived there until her marriage. At Southwest High School, Jocie (as she was affectionately known all her life) was active in student leadership and public speaking; at graduation, she was student commencement speaker. She attended Kansas City Junior College, and was a princess for the 1951 Kansas City Centennial celebration. She married John T. Rohde Jr. on May 27, 1951, in Alameda, Calif.; the couple lived there two years while he served in the U.S. Navy. They raised their three children, Nancy, John III (Hans) and Ruth, in Edwardsville, Kans., and later, Crested Butte, Colo.
Blessed with abundant energy and optimism, Jocie had a vivacious personality and enjoyed getting to know people. She drove the Bookmobile, was the library story lady and taught square dancing. A lifelong Episcopalian, Jocie loved the Lord and His Word, and worked tirelessly in the various parishes she attended, as Sunday school teacher, lector, lay Eucharistic minister, youth group leader, and mentor for Education for Ministry classes at parishes in Arizona and Colorado.
Jocelyn had a keen curiosity about places and people, a boundless spirit of adventure, and an unquenchable joy in the wonders of creation and the natural world. She loved gardening, sewing and quilting, and above all, hiking.
In 1970, the family moved to Colorado where they owned the Pioneer Lodge, a resort near Crested Butte, and there Jocie’s love of hiking blossomed. She hiked all the mountains around Cement Creek in Gunnison County, Colo. Later, she led three group hikes to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, starting when she was 66 and completing the third trip at age 70.
After selling the resort, Jocie and her husband spent several years raising quarter horses in Gunnison, Colo. In 1987, they were called to be the directors of El Hogar de Amor y Esperanza in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, a home and school for extremely poor children. They planned to serve three years, but stayed for more than nine. At El Hogar, “Doña Jocie” wore many hats: administrator, teacher, fundraiser, hair cutter, chief hug giver and stand-in mother to literally hundreds of children. During the Rohdes’ tenure, El Hogar grew from two campuses serving 125 children to three campuses serving 175 children. After returning to the U.S., Jocie continued as an El Hogar board member until 2012.
Jocie was a 57-year member of the P. E. O. Sisterhood, initiated into Chapter FG, Bonner Springs, Kans., and later transferring to Chapter AN, Colorado. She served on the Colorado State Executive Board, and was state president in 1986. At the time of her death, she was a member of Chapter DK in Cañon City, Colo., and was working on starting a chapter in her new home town of Homer, Alaska.
You could often find Jocie making quilts, comforters, and quilted bags. At her Colorado parishes, she helped start a project of making blankets for all newborns at the local hospital. She donated numerous items to church fundraisers; her quilts and comforters grace beds all over Fremont County, Colo. Up to her death she was still sewing on her beloved Singer featherweight, a first Christmas gift from her husband.
The Rohdes fell in love with Alaska in 1977, returning many times to visit until finally deciding to put down roots. They have been residents of Homer since 2012, returning to Cañon City, Colo., for the winter. In Homer, Jocie was active on the Auxiliary at South Peninsula Hospital, working in the gift shop and donating her beautiful handmade nightgowns and purses. She especially appreciated the vivid flower colors made possible by Alaska’s long gardening season.
Jocelyn is survived by her husband of 63 years, John; her three children, Nancy Hamersky (Jim), of Denver; John “Hans” Rohde (Connie Hill), of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Ruth Lively (John), of New Haven, Conn.; six grandchildren, Nick Danni of Gunnison; Cathryn Hoagland, Jocelyn Regas, and Charles Hamersky, all of Denver; Justine Talling of Boulder; and Danielle Rohde of San Francisco; seven great-grandchildren; her brother, Dr. Alfred DeShong, of Blue Springs, Mo.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Arrangements were made by the Homer Funeral Home and Cremation Services. Please sign Jocelyn’s online guestbook at AlaskanFuneral.com.