SPRINGFIELD – Joseph P. Rockford, 75, of Springfield died Friday, Jan. 16, 2009, at St. John’s Hospital, following a lengthy illness.
He was born May 10, 1933, in Springfield, to Antonio and Mary (Ruffo) Rockford. He married Darlene Kyle, the mother of his three children, in June 1955. In May 1990 he married Judy Lanie Burroughs.
Joe graduated from Cathedral Boys High School in 1951. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1954. Joe graduated from Illinois State University and the University of Illinois at Springfield with degrees in education and educational administration. He was an educator for more than 24 years, primarily with Springfield School District 186. He was a popular history and driver’s education teacher at Springfield High School. Joe loved sports and served as an assistant coach for football and basketball for many years.
After retiring from teaching, he started a new career with the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office as director of Driver Services under Gov. Jim Edgar. He also worked at Central Management Services until his retirement in 2005.
His passions were golf and Italian cooking.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Sam and Tony Rockford; and a sister, Rose Marsh.
He is survived by his wife, Judy; daughters, Paula (Terry) Viar of Chatham and Diane (Michael) Workman of New Berlin; son, James (Eve) Rockford of Houston; grandchildren, Stephanie (Tom) Skinner, Sarah (Aaron) Kaka, Candice (Patrick) Sanders, Kyle (Parker) Smith, Cara and Anna Workman and Lauren and Cydney Rockford; great-grandchildren, Cooper and Madelyn; sisters, Grace Petrilli of Springfield and Monica Mitchell of New York City; and several nieces and nephews.
The family is being served by Staab Funeral Home, where visitation will be held Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, from 4 to 7 p.m. Funeral Mass will be held Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church at 12:30 p.m., immediately followed by burial services at Camp Butler National Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Edwin Watts Southwind Park for Erin’s Pavilion or the Altrusa Club of Springfield Foundation.
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