Kenneth Farrell Rochat passed away on July 28, 2021 at Northeast Baptist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas at the age of 86.
Kenneth was born in Leakey, Texas on June 22, 1935 to Alice Inez Porche and Florian Nichols “Rusty” Rochat. He is survived by his three children, Jennifer Rothe and husband Eric “Rick”, Sheila Rothe and husband Richard, all of D’Hanis and Jeff Rochat and wife, Trish, of Mason; 10 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
His wife of 65 years, Patricia D. Rochat, his parents, and a step-brother, Gene Mear preceded him in death.
A lifetime educator, he started his 29-year career in a one room school house in Boxelder, Texas. His duties included teaching all subjects in 5th-8th grades, coaching, driving a bus, and even sweeping the classroom floors each day. He spent the rest of his career teaching Jr. High and High School math and coaching on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona, in Sabinal, and later in Hondo where he eventually became the Building Trades Teacher. He taught welding, framing, bricklaying, plumbing, and electrical skills. His classes built many structures on the HHS campus: bleachers, a concession stand, a brick storeroom, the press box at the football stadium, and an outdoor lunch area.
After retirement, he purchased a Woodmizer sawmill. According to Pat, that sawmill changed his life. After two years of working at Lonehollow, a children’s camp being constructed near Utopia, he became self-employed and used his sawmill to generate income. He never advertised his services, but always had an abundance of customers through word of mouth. Deals were sealed with the shake of his hand. No contracts were necessary.
Forever the educator, he was also a lifetime learner. He soon transitioned from just sawing logs to actually building furniture. He loved the challenge of building and could often be seen on the floor, inspecting the underside of an interesting piece of furniture to see how it was put together. He was especially proud of the altar he built for the renovated St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Vanderpool and a depiction of the last supper in the United Methodist Church in Sabinal that he made in memory of his father. In spite of having no formal construction training, he built two houses and numerous outbuildings, including his woodworking shop at the family ranch north of Sabinal.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations in honor of Kenneth Rochat to mikeroweworks.org in support of the trades, an area of education that he enjoyed so much.
A visitation will be held on Friday, July 30, 2021 from 6:00 P.M to 8:00 P.M at Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary in Sabinal, Texas.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at 11:00 A.M at the First United Methodist Church in Sabinal, Texas.
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