Last Thursday, Georgetown lost one of its most respected citizens.
Louis “Dickey” Rockey passed away at the age of 72 at Clermont Mercy Hospital. Rockey volunteered with the Georgetown Volunteer Fire Department and EMS for nearly 50 years and was most recently serving as the assistant fire chief to Chief Joe Rockey, Dickey’s son.
Rockey worked professionally as a welder for Brighton Corporation in Cincinnati and was a U.S. Army veteran from the Vietnam War.
“Dickey’s been a part of our fire and EMS group for well over 40 years,” Georgetown Mayor Dale Cahall said. “He was looked upon as someone to emulate and take after. People like that are sorely missed when they are gone and you can’t replace them. You hope someone over the years will approach their nature and stature.”
On Tuesday, a funeral mass for Rockey was held at St. George’s Catholic Church, followed by a long funeral procession of mourners, both family and friends alike, as well as many neighboring fire and rescue departments.
Taking part in the funeral procession down State Street and up Mt. Orab Pike in Georgetown were the West Union Fire Department and EMS, Russellville Police Department and Fire Department, Higginsport Fire and EMS, Wayne Township Fire Department, Hamilton Township Fire Department, Sardinia Fire Department, Aberdeen Fire Department, Ripley Fire Department and Life Squad, Manchester Fire Department, Fayetteville Fire Department, Hamersville Fire Department, Mt. Orab Fire Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, and the Georgetown Fire and EMS and Georgetown Police Department.
The Ripley and Bethel Fire departments joined with the Georgetown FD to raise two large American flags over Mt. Orab Pike for vehicles to pass under during the procession.
“(Dickey) would come into the 9-1-1 center after any run he was on, or he would say over the radio, ‘thank you for your help’,” said Jane Pack, former director of the Brown County Communications Center. “He would always do that. That’s just the kind of man he was.”
Rockey’s casket was taken in an old fire tanker truck, and as it approached the Georgetown fire house, the truck turned into the driveway and turned on the air horn, sounding the clarion call for all to hear one last time.
It was a poignant moment for everyone watching on the side of the road. Members of the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Brown County Municipal Court, Brown County Health Department, and other local residents lined the sides of the road to watch the procession and pay their respects.
“He was a stabilizing force,” Georgetown volunteer firefighter Mike Wilcox said.
“He was not only one of the best friends a man could ask for, he was a devoted employee of this village,” Georgetown Administrator Art Owens, a former fire chief in Washington Township said. “He gave himself very unselfishly to Georgetown. I heard a comment from another fireman (from another village) saying it’s going to be weird coming into town and not seeing (Rockey’s) black truck. He touched a lot of lives. He was like a family member to me.”
Wilcox said one of the things he’ll always remember about Rockey was his frendliness to everyone. Wilcox relayed a story that on multiple occassions during EMS runs, he and the other EMT volunteer would have to search for Rockey, who drove the life squad vehicle, because Rockey had been catching up with somebody.
“We would have everything done and we’d have to hunt Rockey down because he was talking to someone at the hospital,” Wilcox said with a laugh. “He knew people everywhere.”
Rockey was interred at Confidence Cemetery in Georgetown on Tuesday afternoon.
If desired, memorial contributions may be made to the Georgetown Fire and EMS, 301 South Main St., Georgetown, OH 45121 or to the West Union EMS, 215 East Sparks St., West Union, OH 45693.
Reach Daniel Karell at 937-378-6161. Follow him on Twitter @GNDKarell