I am sorry to report the death of another of our 'old timers' , Ellene (Mrs. C. C.) Rockwell of Fentress, Texas, who had been living in a retirement apartment in Temple, Texas recently. Rokki, as she was better known, died May 20, 2001 of a massive heart attack.
Rokki began growing bearded irises during the late 1950s and became active in the New Braunfels Iris Society and then in the American Iris Society and the Texas (17) Regional. She soon began growing Louisiana irises and coming to the meetings of the Society for Louisiana Irises as early as the 1970s. Having been born and reared in Baton Rouge, LA, she felt at home with the Louisiana natives.
Rokki was never a silent member of an organization, but took part in all activities. She wrote articles for iris publications, including our Newsletters and the AIS Bulletins. She was chairman of the committee that revised the AIS Handbook for Judges and was Judges Training Chairman for AIS during the 1980s. Rokki served as the Regional Vice-President of the Texas (R 17) Region and later as a Director in the American Iris Society. She served on the Board of the Society for Louisiana Irises and on several of our committees. She was presented the SLI Service Award and the AIS Distinguished Service Medal for her contributions to these Societies.
AIS and SLI members will remember Rokki as being at all the meetings, giving programs to iris groups and conducting training schools for AIS Judges. Everyone knew her at a convention and she knew most of them by name.
Rokki was preceded in death by her husband 'Rock' and a daughter. She leaves three daughters and a number of grandchildren. She also leaves three irises named in her honor: 'Ellene Rockwell' (Amy '73), 'Rokki' (Granger '81) and 'Rokki Rockwell' (Haymon '92).
Editor's Note: This article first appeared in the SLI Newsletter in the Summer 2001 edition.