Celebrating a life well lived and full of Gratitude
We’re sharing this in honor of a past client and friend. Dr. Ed Rockey was a huge gift in the world and an inspiration to us in so many ways! Thank you Ed for your incredible loving and zest for life – even through multiple cancer occurrences, treatments and surgeries. We so admire your inspirational life-long practice of gratitude and service – and how you so deeply touched our hearts and lives and thousands of others. We adore you and your beloved wife Molly. You are an incredible man, soul, teacher, inspiration, and master… We love you and we miss you. Thank you for being you!
Dr. Ed Rockey was born in 1928 in New York, and spent his energetic childhood in Sunnyside, Queens New York where horse carts hauled milk and ice to the front door, pushcart vendors sold roasted corn, and families cooled gallon jugs of apple cider on the fire escapes. At age 17, with no plans for college, he worked on a dairy farm and later as a deckhand on Erie barge canals prior to joining the army. Ed Rockey told stories about being in the Army Field Artillery on Task Force Frost while testing pup tents, socks, sleeping bags, and other gear in the middle of winter in Wisconsin. Despite the freezing temperatures and equipment that was not keeping him warm, he was grateful to be in the army and supporting his country. When he completed his term with the military, Ed worked numerous jobs and replaced his brother, Wendell, at the U.S. Forwarding Company. It was during his time with the U.S Forwarding Company that Mr. Rockey had something serious awaken in him. He took a Spanish class at Columbia University during the evening to help him communicate with customers sending shipments to South America. As a high school dropout, he was pleasantly surprised when he received an A in the class – it was the encouragement he needed. While raising three boys as a single father, Ed continued his studies in the sweltering heat of humid New York summers and freezing winters. He was so grateful to be learning and growing that any perceived hardship he had to endure was but a mere step of gratitude on his road toward receiving degrees in English and Speech and earning a Ph.D. in communication at New York University.
His journey to California came by way of Texas, where he was the President of Christian College of the Southwest. In 1970, Dr. Rockey began his career at Pepperdine University as both a faculty member and as the founding Chair of the Communications Division on the Malibu Campus. In the fall of 1973, Ed moved over to the School of Business and Management as a professor of Behavioral Science. In his 44 years of teaching he was grateful to touch the lives of students and faculty, while always having “time” for everyone including his family. Dr. Rockey married Molly in 1992, and he filled with gratitude as his tenure with Pepperdine provided opportunities to travel with Molly around the world presenting papers at Universities, major corporations, and embracing other cultures. He continued to feed his desire for learning and discovered that his life’s mission was to “facilitate the growth and development of others, and himself.”
His students affectionately referred to him as Dr. Ed. To me he was Ed with the warmest, loving smile and I loved being around him. In January of 2016 I began supporting Ed on a weekly basis with the Lymphedema and cancer that were affecting him. When I met Ed, his age was 87, almost 88, and he had gone through 7 surgeries for sarcomas. I had the pleasure of hearing and seeing the depth of loving within this man for his wife and humanity. Ed’s love for Molly was palpable as he cherished every moment he had with her, and when he wasn’t with her he would write cards or leave thoughtful notes. Amongst all of the challenges he maintained a depth of gratitude referring to a legal sized folder listing all of the things in his life he was grateful for on both sides. Prominently displayed in the center was his wife Molly, and I was humbled to hear and see as he shared that I was on his gratitude folder as well.
Ed was now 89 and elected to have an 8th surgery for a growing sarcoma in his right thigh during the summer of 2017. While Ed continued to recover from surgery I supported him on both a physical and energetic level, and he continued to TEACH me. A month later the lymphedema was now in both legs, his abdomen, and right arm, he was physically weak, and had difficulty eating and drinking water. I knew at an energetic and spiritual level that Ed was not going to be with us much longer. Ed was taken to the hospital, and I embraced the time I had with this amazing man every day after his admittance. I just knew I needed to be there, and he wanted me there at many levels. His face would light up when I would come into the room, and his wife was filled with relief that I was there. During one of my visits Ed asked me directly while he could still speak if he was vital or waning knowing I could see more than the physical body. I tuned into spirit and saw/shared that his spirit was strong, but his bodies systems were challenged. Everyone that came into Ed’s room was met with a depth of gratitude. The day Ed was going to be sent home for hospice care, a gentleman came in to empty the trash. Ed mustered every ounce of strength he could to let this man know he appreciated him and what he was doing.
Dr. Ed Rockey loved life and it showed as his spiritual community and former students continued to reach out to him for his wisdom and support, which he happily shared. Teaching as well as nature nourished him from the inside out. His “happy place” was spending time in Big Sur with his wife Molly, hiking trails, and just appreciating the majesty of the redwood trees as they stood tall above the Pacific Ocean. The grateful being Ed Rockey transitioned on the evening of September 21, 2017 in the loving arms of his wife Molly.
Lessons Learned from Dr. Ed:
- Life is a gift!
Many take life for granted believing they will wake up healthy in the morning until they have reason to believe otherwise. It can seem like such a cliché to say that life is a gift, but no moment beyond this one is ever guaranteed. We can lament the challenges we face in life, or appreciate we are fortunate to be here, right now, capable of growing through them. Be grateful for this moment!
- Gratitude is a Habit!
It is a way of looking at the world and all of the good things in it with a feeling of appreciation, regardless of whether or not your current situation is to your liking. Gratitude is a heart-centered approach to being at peace with yourself and with all you have. When you practice this feeling of gratitude, it attracts even MORE things into your life for which to be grateful.
- To Love!
Look around and see what’s precious. Clear your head of all the little things that won’t matter down the line, when you’re looking back at all the times you cherished the most in life, and find a reason to make this moment one of them.
Savor something. Help someone with your talents. Love someone else in action. And let yourself truly enjoy the experience of doing it. A life well loved is a life well lived.
Written by Steve Romey