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James Rockey

Obituary of James L. Rockey

James L. Rockey Allegany, NY James L Rockey, or “Rockey”, as he was known to all his friends and family, passed Sunday (November 29, 2020) at home, after COPD and a long illness. Rockey was always there if any family or friend needed anything at any time. He was born April 23, 1932 in Carlisle, Pa and was raised from a young age by foster parents, the late Harry and Helen Heishman. On May 2, 1953 at the First Baptist Church in Olean he married Elaine M. Fie who predeceased him on January 8, 2020. At the age of 17 ‘Rockey’ left high school to enlist in the US Army where he served in the 7th Infantry Division from 1949 to 1952. In November and December of 1950, he fought in North Korea near the Manchurian border and was a survivor of the infamous Chosin Reservoir Battle. Wounded, he recovered for 6 months in Valley Forge Hospital. He was discharged as a corporal from Fort Dix , NJ and was awarded a Combat Infantry Badge, the Korean Service Medal with 2 bronze stars, the ROK President Unit Citation and the Purple Heart. After retirement he enjoyed “ Chosin Few" reunions and even returned to Korea with fellow survivors on the 50th anniversary. After the war, Rockey settled in Olean and began work at the former LeValley-McCleod Plumbing and Heating Supply Co. for many years, and then became an apprentice plumber for Local 22 in Buffalo where he was recognized with a 50-year award pin. He was a plumber with Clarks plumbing before traveling around the country, working at Nuclear Power Plants and Refineries. A member of the First Baptist Church for over 65 years, he served as a deacon, a trustee and an usher. Everyone will remember him as being dedicated to his family and his country. As an active member of the Allegany American Legion Charles Harbel Post 892, he was a Past Commander and Trustee and served as Chaplain of the Honor Guard. He was a lifetime member of the Cuba VFW Post 2721 , the DAV and the Purple Heart Club. He loved traveling with the family but was especially fond of his yearly fishing trips with his buddy, Mel. He is survived by and will be missed terribly by his three daughters: Karen Morin of Los Angeles, CA and Lori (Jeffery) Holmes and Gayle Rockey, both of Allegany; grandchildren Nicholas (Kelly) Morin, Casey (Ari) Morin, Marisa Morin, all of Los Angeles, CA, Dr Timothy (Amanda) Fortuna of Roanoke, VA, Brian (Kara) Fortuna of Allegany, Jeffrey Holmes of Alabama, Brittney Holmes of Port Charlotte, FL, Marcie (Eli) Rust of Great Valley and Bradley Peterson of North Carolina; great grandchildren Max and Aiden Morin, Miles Morin, James and Elizabeth Fortuna, Sofia and Payton Fortuna, Cheyenne, Abigail and Theron Rust, and Emily and Lina Neubauer; a twin sister Janet (John) Watson of Carlisle, PA; 2 foster siblings Donald Heishman and Twyla (Pete) Kaufman, both of Carlisle, PA; a very special cousin James (Pat) Clouse of Carlisle, PA and many nieces and nephews. In addition to his wife Elaine, he was predeceased by a sister Grace Springer, and a granddaughter Lynn Neubauer. The family is extremely grateful to Rockey's extensive community of friends, Dave Barton, and Shannon and the Legion buddies. A thank you to Ed and his boys for clams, and everything else he needed; Kathy Ellis and the Howard Family and so many more too numerous to name who made every effort to stop by, bring useful items, and be there for him and his family during his illness. The caregivers always made his life comfortable, and helped make sure the front yard had flowers that made him proud, and his holiday lights brought him and many others cheer. Public visitation will be held Tuesday evening from 4-7pm at the Casey, Halwig & Hartle Funeral Home, 3128 W. State Rd., Olean. Unfortunately, due to pandemic restrictions, the use of the First Baptist Church of Olean is not available for use, so in Christian love, the American Legion will serve as the location for his public funeral service on Wednesday (December 2, 2020) at 1pm. Rev. Millard Cook will officiate. Burial will follow in Mt. View Cemetery, Veterans Field of Honor. Military honors will be accorded by members of the Allegany American Legion Ritual Team. To view the funeral service live online, log onto moments before the service begins at 1pm. Memorials, if desired, may be made to the Allegany American Legion, Charles Harbel Post 892, 4350 NY-417, Allegany, NY 14706. Online condolences may be expressed at


4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Casey, Halwig & Hartle Funeral Home
3128 W. State Rd.
Olean, New York, United States

Funeral Service

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Allegany American Legion
4350 NY-417
Allegany, New York, United States